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. Disgusted

    This is an incredible miscarriage of justice. I believe the state did prove their case. This jury must have made their mind up before the trial even started. Casey Anthony will have to live with what she's done and I guess that will have to be enough for justice for Caylee as the state of Florida has failed to provide justice!

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

    Does this mean that Nancy Grace will SHUT THE HELL UP NOW?!?!

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

    I can't believe she got off with murder! I think the worst thing of all is the information that the jury doesn't get to see or hear, all should be heard by the jury and then can decided if it is harmful or not.I have lost all trust in the justice system in the free world. She apprears to be unscrupulous and doesn't give a damn about anything but hereself.

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

    Good job Casey.. now you and OJ can golf together and talk about the good times

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

    Why does Grace keep saying that Anthony can't be tried again? Yes, double jeopardy isn't allowed, but if new information comes to light, she can be tried again. Why is Grace excluding this from her comments? Is it just to foment more dissatisfaction among the audience?

    July 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Anna from Philly

    The Police Who Did NOT Follow Up On Roy Krunk's Call In August....Let The Evidence wash away as far as I am Concerned. They may have been able to find something.

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

    as sickening as this verdict is, casey will one day meet her JUDGE and Kaylee face to face.

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

      i totally agree!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • CAROL COOK

      She will burn in hell....burn baby burn

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

      The disgusting thing is that now she will be a millionaire from murdering her daughter! She will be getting movie deals, tv appearances it is outrageous! The jury must have been on drugs like most of the state of Florida! Alot of people know "Zanny the Nanny" down there in Florida!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lara

      To know she will be CORRECTLY judged by our maker one day is the only thing that gives me hope about this terrible event.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • jrfindley

      This reminds me not of OJ but of Joran Vandersloot who also got away with murder only to murder again.

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

      This is the new America and the morals of the entire jury speaks for itself. Casey does not even have to worry about paying the lawyers, they have the book and movies rights.
      At least say a prayer for Caylee and all the children that have to pay the price of the human race.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joshua Stevenson

    What I found disgusting was her lawyer Baez using his platform to make a political statement against the death penalty. Perfectly fine that it's your opinion, pal, but completely inappropriate to use this case as a platform and irrelevant.

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

      I completely agree.

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

    i like how she lied about her child missing for 30 days then blamed it on tha nanny that didnt even exist then gets away with murder!!! That is just ridiculous!!

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

    I am so disappointed in the jury! How can anyone NOT report their child missing for 31 days, go out partying and then throw her family under the bus, get to walk away? Seriously?

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

    I believe that justice has not been served on this Earth for Caylee Marie Anthony, HOWEVER, I KNOW that God will bring justice to that little girl's life and family. My heart is saddened at the result of the jury's deliberations. I could not rest at night knowing that I let a murderer our of prison!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dan gee

    Something was clearly not right with the case presented by the prosecution.

    I have never seen someone more shady on the stand than Casey's father..

    I do not believe Casey is innocent but there's just too many unanswered questions... as you can see, it was not at all close. The jury was unanimous in agreeing with all the counts, and they didn't even deliberate for long.

    I hate the guy, but Baez was right – you can't convict someone based on emotion. If you want to know the horrors unleashed when people did do that regularly in this country, read up on the witch trials of the 17th century.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Capt George

    I understand Casey is selling some sports memorabelia to defray her legal fees. I'm meeting her tonight at the Holiday Inn Orlando

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

    If the jury believed that she was innocent and the story she told was true about Caylee's drowning, will they go after George for covering it up? I do not believe that George took that baby and thru her in the woods near his house so Cindy wouldn't be upset. She's been very upset for 3 years. George didn't seem to be the kind of man that could have done that or could have let his daughter face first degree murder charges. What is wrong with our judcial system when people like Casey Anthony are let go and others spend years behind bars for lesser charges than this. I thought I would never say this -but there is no justice for anyone in America from our courts nowdays. If you are a celebrity or a pretty young tot mom who has a nice body, you can pretty much do whatever you want and lie, cry and snot your way out of it. I just hope she never has another child ever and lives a miserable free life, because poor little Caylee won't get to have the life she should have had, I believe because of her selfish mother. God Bless Caylee and may God have mercy on Casey. I think I want to throw up at this point so, I'm thru.

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

    well, casey your free to go out and party and have another baby and do what to the next one.

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