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. Char

    I hear the jury does not want to be identified!!! I don't blame them, if I was them I wouldn't either. They didn't ask for any rereads of testimony or any request for the evidence. They just went in and said "not guilty". Sad day for Caylee Marie.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kristen

    Of course, the news does not report everything nor report accuracy to the full extent, but there was indeed no damning evidence linking the mother to the murder. In a criminal case, there can be no reasonable doubt and the defendant is innocent until proven guilty.

    With that being said, another problem is evident in that she did not report the disappearance of her child for a month. That in itself should be negligence and is a much bigger crime than lying to police.

    I admit, I believe she is guilty of murder, but I support the jury's conclusion due to lack of evidence. I hate that the guilty go free sometimes, but the world is not perfect and I myself cannot think of how the judicial system might work better.

    But seriously, where is the punishment for lack of responsibility for a child? Missing for over a month and out partying?

    July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Renee Miller

    so basically you can have your child go missing for thirty days, not report, lie about it, blame someone else and go free. WOW what a justince system we have

    July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jeff

    nobody finds a child dead and then tries to make it look like a murder....everyone here defending her are being absolutely ridiculous and you are probably all mind controlled by the same people who put this story in th enational spotlight to begin with...ask yourself this...WHY this story?the answer may surprise you

    July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. common sense

    getting the "beautiful life" tattoo right after murdering her daughter. spending the entire next day after the murder in bed with her boyfriend. and not even taking her daughters dead body out of her trunk until it started to ROT! oh, and the parting non stop. I'm at a loss for words. I'll let my emotions do the talking:
    I could only hope she will get lynched and buried in the woods in a few bags with a heart sticker across her...never mind. Throw a few of those retarded jurors with her. Actually ALL the jurors.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dede

    SO.. if she drowned, who thru her in the woods? Did George not tell Cindy she drowned and why were they both so shocked and begging Casey for answers? Wow, no one mentioned Caylee... now miss wild girl gets away with killing her daughter and going back to being a liar and will probably write a book and make millions.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. boycottcompnaies

    I GUESS SHE WILL NOW POSE FOR PLAYBOY AND MAKE MILLIONS I HOPE ALL THE JURIES ROT IN HELL , THE TEACHER SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF HIMSELF

    July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Like really

    I think her father did it, she has been abused by this man for so long I think she is very unstable and really needs to get away from her family all together and get some help. Out of the life long fear of her father she did what he said! The whole cover up!! His day is coming next!!

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

      really you know for a fact her father abused her, you were there?

      July 5, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. NotFair

    How sad is it that there was no justice for Caylee? I hope everytime Casey shuts her eyes she has images of the skeletal remains of her daughter. She will payback for what she did. It may take a little time but God has ways of handling this. For Baez to say ("And today and yesterday on the Fourth of July, there was a breath of life") he is even more depraved than CAsey. What about Caylee's breath??????? She took her last breath when he stone cold heartless mother put duct tape over her mouth.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Monserrat

    This case has been going on for way to long and for the results to be that she is not gulity is not something that should have happened. Even if the jury were saying that theres not enough evidence thats understandable. But since this case had went for 6+ weeks people just gave up and didnt know what to think anymore. And for Casey Anthony the trail and the jury were in her favorite. I think she has been covering up so many lies that people just didnt know what to believe.In all this was a wake up call to what are system is in the U.S. is about and to show us the people and citizens like the frase says "Getting away with murder", takes place!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MadMardigain

    I think its amazing her attorneys are almost gloating about this and trying to act like its everyone else issue. Especially when most of them probably expected a guilty verdict.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Boleyna

    This is a perfect example why the Jury based system is not being used in so many other countries anymore. Murder trials are put in the hand of professional judges and lawyers. And the trial is not "live on the TV". Here in the US it seems to be all about the "show" that is being put on in the courtroom. What is especially troubling to me is that the jury doesn't have to give a reason for their decision in the courtroom. In a bench or judge trial the judge is required to give reasons for the judgement.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. cathy

    ONE NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.. i will never have faith in our system again!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nocordoba

      She had no motive therefore the jury couldn't convict so justice was done.

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

      Sociopaths rarely have motives..... She played the system correctly. Lie about everything and confuse the common idiot.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • beatriz

      There was reasonable doubt in the evidence, the media considered she was guilty but once the evidence was evaluated it was obvious that there were flaws on the da's case, has nothing to do with oj, to me and I followed that trial too he was guilty, but in this case as I saw the defence evidence and experts I thought it was an accident where the father has a hand that is why he tried to commit suicide

      July 5, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jaycee

    Casey is HOT! and a tease. I would have let her go

    July 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. beatriz

    The press and the linch mob deciding she was guilty, when one evaluated the evidence there was reasonable doubt in all the evidence, to me at the beggining I had no doubt she had done it, then as I followed the defence I thought that she was innocent although she did lie, and I am sure she know what happen and it has to do with the father.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
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