July 5th, 2011
07:55 PM ET

Jury's verdict: Casey Anthony not guilty of murder

Editor's note: For more on the jury's finding that Casey Anthony is not guilty in daughter Caylee's death read our full story here.

[Updated at 8:20 p.m.] From the moment word came that Casey Anthony was acquitted of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, online networking sites were flooded with a cascade of amateur commentary. A few big names, including Kim Kardashian, joined the fray. Most condemned the verdict - "no justice for Caylee" was a common comment - which comes after years of the case serving as fodder for cable news, tabloids and the like.

[Updated at 7:55 p.m.] Mourners of Caylee Anthony want you to turn your porch lights on tonight in honor of the slain 2-year-old.

The Facebook event, "Porch lights on for Caylee Marie Anthony," urges people "all over the world" to start participating at "9 pm in your own time zone."

Already, 546,610 have said they're attending, and some say their lights are already on.

ALTERNATE JUROR SPEAKS

[Updated at 7:20 p.m.] Alternate juror Russell Huekler said he agrees with the jury's verdict "wholeheartedly" and surmised that Caylee Anthony's death was a "horrific accident" gone awry.

"The prosecution did not prove their case," said Huekler, who sat through the entire case but did not get to deliberate the charges.

Prosecutors failed to answer the question of how Caylee died, he said.

From the testimony, Huekler said he drew the conclusion that "it was probably a horrific accident" that Anthony and her father, George Anthony, covered up.

"Unfortunately it did snowball and got away from them," Huekler said. "It was such a horrific accident that they didn't know how to deal with it. The family appeared to be very dysufintional and instead of admitting there was an accident, they chose to hide it, for whatever reason."

CASEY ANTHONY'S FAMILY

[Updated at 5:08 p.m.] Attorney Mark Lippman issued a statement on behalf of Lee, George and Cindy Anthony:

While the family may never know what has happened to Caylee Marie Anthony, they now have closure for this chapter of their life. They will now begin the long process of rebuilding their lives.

Despite the baseless defense chosen by Casey Anthony, the family believes that the Jury made a fair decision based on the evidence presented, the testimony presented, the scientific information presented and the rules that were given to them by the Honorable Judge Perry to guide them.

The family hopes that they will be given the time by the media to reflect on this verdict and decide the best way to move forward privately.

The family also wanted the public to know that if anyone wanted to honor Caylee by leaving stuffed animals or other toys at any area near their home, that they would prefer those items be donated in Caylee’ s name to families in need, religious centers, or any other entity where the toys would be appreciated.

ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

[Updated at 4:10 p.m.] Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings issues a plea for restraint after Casey Anthony is acquitted of murder.

"As the verdict has been rendered we ask our community to respect the decision the jury and court have made today. We ask for your continued peaceful acknowledgement of that verdict.

THE PROSECUTION SPEAKS

[Updated at 3:47 p.m.] The delay in recovering Caylee Anthony's remains worked to the "considerable disadvantage" to the prosecution's efforts to prove Casey Anthony's guilt, Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Lawson Lamar said.

With no "smoking gun" and a victim who was "reduced by time and the elements to skeletal remains," made the case all the more the more difficult to prove, he said. Nonetheless, he said, police and prosecutors did their job - and so did the jury.

"I never, ever criticize a jury; theirs is a task of deciding what to believe," he said. "We're disappointed with the verdict today and surprised because we know the facts and we put in absolutely every single piece of evidence that existed."

He said his staff would return to the task of addressing the 101,00 cases that come to his office each year, including a handful of open child murder cases.

"Child murders, regrettably and terribly, are not rare in America today and those deaths are no less horrible," he said. "The only difference is the news has not highlighted their murders."

He also praised his staff for not talking about the case outside of the courtroom, saying the rush to convict Casey Anthony in the news "led to the great expense" of having to seek a jury "outside the media market."

"So much of the angst and taxpayer expense could've been avoided if others had not succumbed to the temptation provided by quick notoriety," Lawson said.

"For us the case has never been about the defendant in particular. It has always been about seeking justice for Caylee and speaking on her behalf."

THE JURY

[Updated at 3:14 p.m.] Members of the jury in the Casey Anthony case have said they are not interested in speaking with members about the case or the verdict, a court spokeswoman said.

[Updated at 3:10 p.m.] We are waiting on an expected news conference from the jurors in the Casey Anthony trial.

A room has been set up for them to address the media, but none are required to actually say anything if they do not want to.

THE DEFENSE SPEAKS

[Updated at 2:50 p.m.] Defense Attorney Jose Baez said he had mixed emotions about the case and that he had to work hard against media bias that existed during the search for Caylee and the case against Casey Anthony.

"You cannot convict someone until they have their day in court," he said.

Baez said he was happy for Casey Anthony and the decision made by the jury. Now he hopes Casey Anthony can move on.

"I want her to grieve and to grow and somehow get her life back together," he said.

Baez said the case was a true example of a jury doing what they are supposed to - finding their verdict based on evidence and not emotion.

"We have the greatest constitution in the world and if the media and other members of the public don’t respect it, it will become meaningless," he said. "And today and yesterday on the Fourth of July,  there was a breath of life."

Baez said he is thrilled that when he goes home today and his daughter asks what he did today he can say - "I saved a life."

"I think this case is a perfect example for why the death penalty does not work... " Baez added. "Murder is not right no matter who does it."

[Updated at 2:45 p.m.] Dorothy Clay Sims speaking first for the defense team addressed the media.

"I am thankful for today's verdict on behalf of Casey Anthony," she said.

Defense Attorney Cheney Mason also addressed the media, angrily scolding them for their coverage of the case.

"I hope that this is a lesson to those who have indulged in media assassination for three years," he said.

Defense Attorney Jose Baez added that "while we're happy for Casey there are no winners in this case."

"Caylee has passed on far, far too soon, and what my driving force has been for the past three years is to make sure there has been justice for Caylee and Casey," he said. "Casey did not murder Caylee, it's that simple. And today our system of justice has not dishonored her memory by a false conviction."

[Updated at 2:34 p.m.] A room is being prepared for the jury to take questions from the media about their verdict.

THE REACTION

iReport: What's your reaction to the verdict

[Updated at 2:31 p.m.] For the first time a wide smile came across Casey Anthony's face. She began to smile and laugh as her team surrounded her and congratulated her on being found not guilty of murdering her daughter.

[Updated at 2:29 p.m.] Casey Anthony took tissues from a court bailiff and wiped her face at the back of the courtroom.

[Updated at 2:26 p.m.] Casey Anthony embraced her attorney Jose Baez and the rest of her legal team before sobbing.

Anthony wiped tears from her eyes as her team of lawyers hugged each other.

[Updated at 2:24 p.m.] Casey Anthony wiped tears from her eyes and clutched her attorneys' hands as the judge addressed the courtroom.

[Updated at 2:23 p.m.] Casey Anthony returned to the courtroom after briefly leaving with a slight smile on her face.

The judge set sentencing for Thursday at 9 a.m.

[Updated at 2:22 p.m.] Casey Anthony has left the courtroom. Her parents also quickly left the courtroom after the verdict was read.

[Updated at 2:22 p.m.] Judge Belvin Perry confirms the jury's verdict.

[Updated at 2:20 p.m.] Casey Anthony cried as she hugged her defense attorney Jose Baez before she approached a podium to be addressed by the judge.

THE VERDICT

[Updated at 2:20 p.m.] A poll of the jurors showed they all agreed on the verdict for every count.

[Updated at 2:20 p.m.] Casey Anthony has been found guilty of four counts of providing false information to law enforcement in the case of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, who was slain in 2008.

[Updated at 2:19 p.m.] Casey Anthony is sobbing in court as the verdict is being read.

[Updated at 2:17 p.m.]  Casey Anthony has been found not guilty of first-degree murder in the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. She was also found not guilty of aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter.

[Updated at 2:16 p.m.] Judge Belvin Perry is reading over the verdict form filled out by the jury.

[Updated at 2:15 p.m.] The jury has entered the courtroom.

[Updated at 2:15 p.m.] Members inside the courtroom have stood up as Judge Belvin Perry prepares to bring in the jury.

[Updated at 2:11 p.m.] George Anthony is sitting with his eyes closed and his hands clasped next to his wife Cindy inside the courtroom as they await to hear their daughter's fate.

[Updated at 2:04 p.m.] Casey Anthony, flanked by her lawyers, is sitting silently, biting her lip and taking deep breaths as she awaits the jury's verdict.

[Updated at 2:02 p.m.] Casey Anthony has just entered the courtroom and was met by two of her lawyers. She is wearing a pink ruffled shirt, her hair was pulled back in a ponytail and she was biting her nails.

[Updated at 1:57 p.m.] Jose Baez, one of Casey Anthony's lawyers, has just arrived at the courthouse in Orlando, Florida, In Session reports.

THE DELIBERATION

[Updated at 1:52 p.m.] The jury deliberated for 10 hours, 40 minutes and 33 seconds before reaching a verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, which included 33 days of testimony and two days of closing arguments, according to CNN sister network HLN.

[Updated at 1:45 p.m.] The jury has reached a verdict in the Casey Anthony capital murder trial, according to staff at the Orange County, Florida, courthouse.

The verdict, reached by the seven-woman, five-man jury, will cap a trial that stretched to more than six weeks and featured allegations of sexual abuse, questions regarding Casey Anthony's competence and various theories on what happened to 2-year-old Caylee.

The verdict is scheduled to be read at 2:15 p.m ET.

Casey Anthony, 25, was charged with seven counts - first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and four counts of providing false information to a law-enforcement officer in Caylee's 2008 disappearance and death.

Read what each charge means

Watch Nancy Grace Monday through Sunday starting at 8 p.m. ET on HLN. For the latest from Nancy Grace click here.

soundoff (7,331 Responses)
  1. Angie

    Andre,
    You may be right, but I do believe in karma.......

    July 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TeeTee

    Our judicial system makes me sick! Casey was her Mother and was supposed to protect her. She should have AT LEAST been charged with Child Neglect!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Betty

    So the moral of the story is: If you can hide a murder just long enough for all the physical evidence to be destroyed then you too can get away with murder!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Denise

    Nancy Grace, You need someone else to do your job. You call yourself a person that goes to church and reads the bible? I have been watching your show forever. Since this case has started, I have been so upset at you. You cut everyone down if they do not agreed with you. Quit cutting Baez and Casey down. This family needs to heal. Their was no direct evidence that she killed her daughter. I have been watching this case since the day her daughter went missing. Wendy Murphy has written an article and it is on line that makes quite of bit of sense. I think maybe Casey knows who killed her daughter. Also, records and pictures have been sealed by the prosecution. I would like to know why those records were sealed so that the public could not see everything they wanted us to see. TheI public is being kept in the dark about something in this case. So, read Wendy Murphy's article and see what you think. These people that are standing in front of the courthouse making so much noise need to go home. IT IS NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS. GO HOME. TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN FAMILY.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • TBUTRUM

      Stop being so stupid Denise. She is guilty as sin and you and everyone in the world knows it. Really. And Nancy disagreeing, is mostly an act to get people tuned in and riled up. Casey not found guilty should be getting us all riled up. Hopefully she will get taken care of in jail before they let her out, if not someone will be waiting on her when she gets out. Hopefully anyway. God knows what she did and hopefully she will have to live under a bridge and be scared every second of every day................... God takes care of people like Casey.................................

      July 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Susan McGraw Keber

    I am shocked and dismayed by the verdict. I am convinced of Casey Anderson's guilt and consider this verdict incorrect and a farce. Furthermore, I question the good sense of the Anderson's as they seemingly desired to protect their daughter but ultimately walked away when the verdict was read, a sign to me they had performed their duties as parents but know the truth...their daughter is a murderer.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Layla

      Who's Casey Andersen?

      July 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hilary

      I totally agree with you! I am so disgusted with this verdict. Obviously, the jury members were complete idiots! It was so clear that if nothing else, she was guily of child abuse. I just hope that she NEVER has any more children!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jan

      Everyone knows that once Casey is released, the media is going to be fighting to get Casey on tv shows. I hope that if she is scheduled for a tv show, that everyone turns the channel off to make a statement to the media. Everyone should let the media know that we don't condone this injustice to Calee because this verdict was so wrong.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. brent

    Yay!!!!!! wait..... what...? not guilty...???

    July 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Choco monster

    Chinese cyber warfare teams are trying to race bait this article. It's very obvious from the completely unrelated racial comments.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rosie Perez

    The 12 most stupidest members of a jury since the OJ trial.
    if she was dancing when her child went missing, she must be planning a hell of party tonight.
    If they felt that the prosecution team had not met their burden, better a hung jury, than a miscarriage of justice.
    The cost would have been well worth it.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rudi

    ‎2012 can be the intersection of our spirituality, the technology is advancing fast but our spirituality advance is much slower, if we do not catch up there is a great chance of chaos, remember one sentence and it can change everything: Do not do to others what you do not wish to be done to you….its simple, available and we just need to do it. All in the sensational book at www TheDimensionMachine do com

    July 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dave Pepper

    I think Casey had something to do with Kailey's death but the prosecution just didn't prove their case. Now....maybe if that court hack, Nancy Grace will ride her ass long enough she can get Casey to commit suicide!!! LOL now the jury won't talk to the media. I'm gald!! I've enjoyed following this case but the heathen media needs to leave the jury alone!!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Trashman

    She was found not guilty that doesn't mean she was innocent. She did it.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. discuss

    She is GUILTY..and deserves to be put to death. That's okay justice will be served one way or another. Now she has to worry about the public getting their hands on her. She will die, just a matter of time. Lord can only hope she NEVER decides to borth another child so that she can brutally murder it as well. Go to HELL, Casey Anthony.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luiz

      You are a very sick person. Get help!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. gavin

    Anyone with an ounce of common sense given the evidence presented knows Casey Anthony is guilty. This jury failed to carry out their responsibility. They are gutless and irresponsible. What they are really saying is Caylee Anthony is dead. Casey did not do it, but somebody did, but we just don't know who it was given the evidence presented. Now the jury has refused to meet with the media to explain their decision. What a bunch of spineless, cowardly people. They are a shamful disgrace to the state of Florida, their country and to what happened to Caylee Anthony.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kristin

    This is not a surprise to me! I found myself feeling bad for this girl I never met. A big thing for me was the smell of the car I have a daughter that will be 3 in october and still on hot days I can smell the odor that's been there for years. This among many things is why she should have not been guilty. I think this girl is guilty of letting her precious baby rot in a field but she knows what happened and she's the only one that can tell us what happened. Justice for Casey was done today and it has yet to come for little Caylee.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Deb

    Is it true Casey Anthony wrote a book in jail? "How to live free of responsibilities even if you have a child."
    Step one. Lose your child.
    Step two. Refuse to tell anyone where she is.
    Step three. Tell so many different stories that no one will be able to make sense of what you said.
    Step four. Hire an attorney to stand up and tell everyone your child drowned in a pool and your dad bagged her up like garbage and tossed her on a garbage dump on the side of the road.
    Step five. Be sure not to tell the story yourself, because you might just break out laughing at the ludicrosity of that story.
    Step six. Get out of jail free, sell your book and live high on the hog, partying hearty for the rest of your life.
    Step seven. Be sure to tell your mom and dad, sorry to smear them all over the courtroom floor but you know how it is.... THE END JUSTIFIES THE MEANS.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
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