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. Sharon Thompson

    This is the worst display of JUSTICE BEING DONE. There was no justice for Caylee Anthony. This jury failed to acknowledge the dead child that is dead because of being murdered by her mother. The jury only saw the party girl and she was not a victim but a murderer. How dare Jose Baez stand on the steps and try, at this late date, to decide to bring into this case the name of the dead child.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. boycottcompnaies

    what this case says you can killed your child and now make millions

    July 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mom of 1

    disgusting....is all i can say. what justice system.....perhaps the word justice should be re-defined. RIP baby girl. Thankfully, Your mom will not be seeing you in Heaven....she'll be joining her demon friends downstairs.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cliff

    I think we all should take a step back and think about this. Ignorance has no color. This woman who just got off was the meaning of the word. I really don't even know how she got off but she did. It's sad to see what world we live in when guilty somehow turns into innocence with a persuasive play on words or a smell of decomposition. Who really knows what dead people smell like anyway, unless they have been around that regularly. It's just rediculous to see what America has become. SMH. Where is the unity and intelligence that we all wished for for our children?

    July 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. James

    Spencer,

    News that actually effects you? Really? What are you, 11 years old?

    July 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. annette

    Poor CAYLEE....Where is the JUSTICE for her??? Casy's "piers" thought more about her lies to the police then the KILLING of her child!! Guess she got "The Life She Wanted" NO JUSTICE WAS SERVED TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. SOMEONE PLEASE SHUT NANCY GRACE UP!

    SHE IS A BLUBBERING IDIOT. THIS CASE WAS NEVER A DEATH CASE AND THE PROSECUTION WASTED MILLIOINS OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS. NOW SHE'S BLAMING THE JURY. SHE SHOULD BE DISBARRED AND CNN SHOULD BE SUED FOR ITERFERING WITH JUSTICE.

    PERHAPS NANCY CAN TAKE CASEY'S JAIL CELL.

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

      I Hope Nancy Grace gets hit by a car

      July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Agreed

      July 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • hmmmm

      nancy grace isn't on cnn.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      She is a shrieking harpie.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobie

      Please – I agree – Shut that Nancy Grace Up – I cannot stand her. Who does she think she is God? I sure wouldn't want her or her self indulgent journalists sitting on my jury? They scare me. They should listen to the FACTS....

      July 5, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • SOMEONE PLEASE SHUT NANCY GRACE UP!

      Nancy Grace is on CNN Headline News. She is on right now...turn it on if you can handle her idiotic comments.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • monica

      you are so ignorant, explaine to me WHERE THE HELL WAS CALEEN FOR 31 DAYS, and you find her not guilty, my kid goes missing for 30 mins and i'm going crazy. What the hell was she doing PARTYING.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Father

      Where is the father of Caylee?

      July 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • SOMEONE PLEASE SHUT NANCE GRACE UP!

      MONICA, I DON'T LIKE CASEY ANTHONY. I THINK SHE IS A LIAR, SHE IS A LOSER, SHE IS A THIEF AND SHE MIGHT HAVE MURDERED HER CHILD.

      YOU HAVE STATED I AM IGNORANT SO I ASSUME YOU FEEL THE JURY SHOULD HAVE FOUND CASEY GUILTY OF MURDER. IN THIS CASE THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE TO BRING A DEATH CASE AGAINST CASEY, NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE FOR THE STATE TO PROVE ITS CASE DEFINITELY NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE FOR A RESPONSIBLE JURY TO CONVICT.

      SHE MAY HAVE KILLED KAYLEE BUT THERE WAS NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE FOR A PROPERLY CHARGED JURY TO CONVICT HER.

      YOU, MONICA, ARE THE IGNORAT ONE. NOW GO FIND YOUR CHILD.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cornelious lambert

      I agree, to someone please shut Nancy grace up, The justice system is OK, The caretakers of the justice system is responsible for any mishaps in the system. They forget about the law in which the justice system stands. They spend so much time and money trying to keep out information about a case about the truth. Why not let it all in and then and only then you can get an almost afair estimate about a situation that occured that you really don't know, why it happen, or how did it happen. All of it is about what the caretakers believe what happen. I belive they really don't care about what happen. If they care why keep evidence out. The state has the upper hand in all cases and the average citizen doesn't have a chance in our justice system. It cost the state individual nothing to put on a case. It cost the average citizen thousand of dollars out of their pocket right up front to defend themselves. If you are disappointed in the verdict than you are not a justice individual. I believe we should look for justice in all cases. They criticize the system because if it didn't happen that way it just didn't happen. That's why all evidence should be allowed, because the prosecutors do not know why, what, or when. Let the people decides and stop hiding evidence. "That's Justice"

      July 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Blogica

    Anyone consider that she may actually be INNOCENT of murder? All those jurors weren't fools.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • RP03345

      do you think she was innocent of child endangerment too? she admits to not reporting her daughter missing for 31 days. One of the jury's options was guilty of child endangerment or abuse or neglect. If murder couldn't be proven, fine. But if a parent knows their child is missing and doesn't report it, they should be held accountable of THAT!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Todd West

      Not only the jury but our entire justice system looks like fools

      July 5, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kari

      THANK YOU! Besides what the media has spewed with its tweeks from the beginning to blow the case up for ratings what ACTUAL hard core facts or evidence does anyone have that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Casey intentionally, brutally murdered caylee. Its media influenced opinion. Proves how easy it is for ANYONE to be brainwashed by the government, the media or even thier friends and family to believe what they want them to believe

      July 5, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • mk2

      So the jurors (who you say are not fools) chose to believe that a former police officer, took what was a tragic accident (her drowning in a pool) and covered it up to look like a murder. Yeah that makes sense LOL. Trust me, they are fools.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wow

      Do you really think that this was an accident and she panicked and then created the web of lies? Come on. The only reason one would try this elaborate cover up is that they actually have something to hide. Like murdering their child. If your kid drowned accidentally would you be out partying a few weeks later? How can you not see that? Have you purchased any bridges lately that you're awaiting delivery on?

      July 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. AX

    CNN AND MAINSTREAM MEDIA ARE A PATHETIC JOKE

    GET INFORMED AT http://WWW.INFOWARS.COM

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

      roll hard AX!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wow

      As are you

      July 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Micky Tracey

    Nancy Grace and others beware of lawsuits as you hounded this young woman and
    condemed her from day one. I hope you all pay for this so that you have tor remember to
    not sentence someone (however unattractive )to fill up your time slots.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John

    Maybe we should just put to death all mothers who aborted their babies as well.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Charles

    It is important to remember that no verdict can bring little Caylee back. Beyond that, the evidence provided showed that Caysee is a liar (and was convicted of that) and a bad mother, but not that she is a murderer, at least not beyond reasonable doubt. Some of you may not like it, but as a society we (and our founding fathers) have placed the burden of proof with the prosecution because we believe that it is better for a murderer to go free than to convict falsely an innocent person. Maybe those of you who are revenge-thirsty may find consolation in the the thought that if Caysee is in fact innocent and she was found guilty and executed, the crime committed by our society would have been much worse than that committed by whoever is responsible for Caylees' death.

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

      In my opinion, she is almost certainly the murderer, but I am glad my opinion is not enough to convict a person. Her acquittal does not change my opinion, and it's a fair bet most on the jury consider her the likely murderer, but felt unsure enough about it to not feel comfortable handing her a death sentence, especially after the effective Chewbacca defense mounted by her attorney.

      I am certainly incapable of proving that she is the murderer beyond any reasonlable doubt. All I can prove with the evidence that the procedution presented and the defense did not dispute was that
      1.) She is an absolutely horrible and worthless person
      2.) She was a tragically unfit mother and hopefully will never breed again
      3.) She contributes nothing to society, and her daughter would have been far better off without her, as we all would be

      July 5, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. bert

    i'll be happy with this outcome if it results in Nancy Grace being fired.

    also...
    the jury did their job well. the absence of proof is not proof. the florida DA office failed. stop harping on the jury if you were a) not on it b) not present to hear evidence presented or c) love nancy grace and thinks she is the coolest.

    If i'm ever being tried for something i believe i did not do, i pray for a jury that won't convict out of emotion.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nan

    Can someone calculate the odds of having the only 12 people in the world that thought Casey was innocent sitting on the same jury????

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

      Justice, USA style.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • USminority

      You would get the same results from anyone who paid attention to this case with a bit of common sense. Not the stupid rhetoric of kid died, mother lied, KILL MOTHER

      July 5, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. elaine shooks

    I want to know how many of those 12 jurors would be perfectly comfortable in having Casey Anthony babysit their child. How many of the 12 feel she is perfectly safe in having more children herself! They need to think about that because they made the decisson for all of us that she is a good safe person to have out in our society. Think about it jury!!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • RP03345

      and if the jury thought they couldn't sleep at night if they convicted her, I wonder how well they will sleep knowing they didn't

      July 5, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
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