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. MadMardigain

    That whole family is a three ring circus of issues. Baez I think is in love with the drama that group created and how he can magnify it to extreme levels.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. boycottcompnaies

    I GUESS NOW PEOPLE WILL BUY POOLS TO GET RID OF THEIR CHILDREN , I GUESS NOW DUCT TAPE , TRASH BAGS COMPANIES WILL MAKE SPECIAL TAPE JUST FOR DISPOSING OF CHILDREN , TOTAL BS

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

      Your right a recipe to get away with murder. So sick that their was no read back what so ever and in 10 hours they could exclude that Casey was the only person in evidence that was the last person to see Caylee alive and the only one that knew she was dead............................................. Nothing can change that not the 12 joke jury members can even deny that....

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

    We couldn't find our granddaughter for 1/2 hr. Our entire family was out searching, crying and panic stricken. She was found at a playground, but in the meantime our entire family was calling her name and searching for her. This lying mother partied for an entire month and had gone on her life as if nothing was wrong. Like OJ, someday she'll slip up and get what's coming to her.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. DJAMES

    12 Jury Members that did not look or ask for anything and they let a killer walk free and where is the justice in people that are in a hurry to go home? A jury that bought into lies I hope they live the rest of there life's knowing they looked at no evidence they heard evidence of a self centered ego lying Casey and what never asked to read anything in this case because I guess getting out of there was more important.... What a joke.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. fedup

    Just rewards will be delivered as a result of her actions, eventually. Now, further emboldened by yet another chance to get away with something, she will be her own worst enabler. We will probably never know the truth, but she probably knows. Just as OJ could not constrain his actions, my bet is on Casey Anthony to be so emboldened that she too will revisit jail.

    In any event, I pray for her family, and particularly Caylee. They need help. As for Casey Antony, no further comment . . .

    July 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joshua Wertheim

    MY QUESTION OF THE DAY: At his press conference, Baez talked about his little daughter and how he would tell her he 'saved a life today'. Great! But would he allow Casey Anthony to babysit for her????

    July 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JUSTICE

    SHAME ON HLN AND THEIR BIASED COVERAGE OF THIS TRIAL. ANYONE WATCHING THIS TRIAL KNOWS THE VERDICT WAS JUST ACCORDING TO THE LAW! ALL OTHER OPINIONS ARE BASED ON EMOTIONS OR FROM WATCHING HLN'S TERRIBLY BIASED COVERAGE OF THIS CASE! I COULDN'T BE HAPPIER TO SEE NANCY GRACE, JANE VELEZ, MIKE BROOKS AND ALL THEIR OTHER CRONIES WHO WOULDN'T HEAR IT ANY OTHER WAY WITH EGG ON THEIR FACE!

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

      I totally agree that the justice system worked today. The great 17th century attorney, Semmes Luckett said it the best. "America was not founded nor freed by the liked or the well behaved." just becuase you dont like casey anthony, doesnt mean that she is a murderer. Its not what you think or feel, its what you can prove. The state couldnt prove it, we DONOT convict people in this country based on public or media opinion.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • JUSTICE

      THANK YOU FATHER J. I WAS WORRIED THERE WASN'T ANYONE OUT THERE WHO COULD GET BEYOND THEIR EMOTIONS ABOUT THIS CASE AND COMMENT LOGICALLY! ; )

      July 5, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kayla R. Baisden

    I am disgusted, if a woman can get away with murderig her own child, what else can people gt away with? Still she says that her child drowns in a pool.... okay WHERE WAS THE MOTHER??? that neglect right there. So this little girl was nothing, she was murdered and her mother gets of scott free. This little girl was innocent guilty of nothing, she wasn't asked to be brought into this world and she certainly wasn't asked to be taken out of it by the hands of her own mother. I am just outraged. I do not know this little girl, nor do iI have any ties with this fmaily, but I want justice for this little child. Its not right, its just not right

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

    OUR Justice system SUCKS!!!! Poor caylee her mom kills her and gets away with it

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

    I bet she won't go clubbing tonight.

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

      OHh YES SHE WILL!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. You're all suckers to believe in the system

    What I find even more hilarious is that her defenders were so horrible that she had grounds for an appeal and yet THEY STILL WON.

    Prosecution was horrible beyond belief.

    Not Guilty!

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

    what a dark day. God bless the child. God help us.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Someone is going to get hurt!!

    America will see to it that Caylee gets justice. One way or another.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. D Flores

    Well, Casey got what she wanted a singles' lifestyle! Casey, don't get too comfortable, Karma is a...

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

    I respect those whose opinion is "there was not enough evidence". What I don't buy is a jury that has been sequestered for what 6 six weeks, walk into deliberation and come to a verdict within 11 hours, when they have been ordered by the judge not to discuss the case among themselves???? Listen to the public, it has to be at least 95% to %5 that believe Casey killed Caylee. Not 1 juror out of 12 thought Casey killed Caylee going into deliberation? Sorry I don't buy it. That jury was hot to go home. So America go out and kill your babies but make sure you dispose of the body so it decomposes for 6 months leaving no evidence. I am sick to my stomach. If the jury had deliberated even 4 or 5 days then maybe I would believe they played by the rules. But right now I absolutely do not believe they did not. What does that say for our system?? Not one person thought "oh maybe" Casey did kill her?????" Going on a cruise was much more important than justice for Caylee. Did anyone read Casey's lips yesterday during Burdick's closing arguments?

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

      I was reading your post and was wandering, since when do we convict people based on what 95% to 5% of people believe. Again please understand that Law isn't based on whats right or wrong, its based on what you can prove. I dont think the media was fair to this girl. In This country you are innocent till proven guilty. She was not proven guilty and it may not have been the result that people wanted, but the fact remains that its what you can prove. I belive the state sank their case when the DA started laughing during closing. How would you feel if you were facing a murder charge and someone thought it was funny? just a thought.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
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