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. AX

    GEORGE KNOWS THE HEAT IS ABOUT TO CATCH UP ON HIM

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

    I think the jurors saw to many inconsitance's in her fathers testamony and it put doubt in there minds. example, when asked about how the pets were buried he couldn't remember yet the rest of the family remembered the trash bags and the duct tape. So the posibility of accidental drowning becomes possible.

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

    No doubt this verdict was reached, because the jurors are wonderfully educated and watch lots of CSI.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Hal Jordan

    Welp I hope that every single juror has a son or daughter that is subsequently abducted and murdered. That is what they deserve for this travesty.

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

      @Hal: Nice outlook on life. I could see going after the jurors themselves, but wishing harm against children makes you no better than the SC um of our society. Maybe things aren't improving, because of people like you.

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

      YOU HAVE ISSUES. GET HELP.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Alissa T. Settle

    I'm sick and angry; they let a BABY KILLER go today...she got nothing; NOTHING!!! There is no justice on earth; my consolation lies in my belief that she will have to face God and her baby girl one day, and THEY will judge...correctly. RIP sweet Calyee

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

    I don't think there's anything surprising about the jury's verdict. The prosecution couldn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Casey murdered her daughter. However, we're all just left with an inner conviction that justice has not been served for Caylee. I won't be suprised if Casey cashes in on this opportunity–and if she does, that is just really sad.

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

    We need the real life Dexter to come in and make things right.

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

      I agree 100%!!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. 123apple123

    Nancy Grace has been talking for weeks how terrible a lawyer Jose Baez is & now it turns out he has to be considered one of the best lawyers in history. Nancy how does the crow taste? By the way what is the jury smoking? Anthony is so guilty!

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

      Agrees with 123! Justice has prevailed! ...and Nancy Grace, I hope like HELL that you just shut the hell up! But Im sure that you will find another case that you can run your mouth about, but have to say am not looking forward to it!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • deedee

      Gotta love it Nancy graeco has TO EAT crows FEET AND IS FULL OF CRUMBS bashing BAEZ. "Baby how does it feel being on the ugly monitor." i guess your not as smart on law are you? LOL,LOL. Its not where you come from its how hard you work to get there remember that sweety.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jack

    No sane mother ends up not worrying about her missing child and then end up fabricating a web of lies and deception.
    Casey and/or her defense team threw Geroge under the bus. And why isn't Cindi going to be prosecuted for perjury regarding the internet searches she claimed she made?

    Get real folks. Casey has to be a pathologicl liar/psychopath.

    Please....

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

    I agree with the jurors.Police & media are the ones who fabricated this case

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

      Troll! Go stick your head in the oven and turn on the gas.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Debbie

    OK, if the jury found her guilty of not being truthful to the police, don't they have to ask WHY. What was she hiding. I can't believe this has happened. She deserves the needle and I hope to God George, Cindy, and Lee NENER let her near them again. She is a psycho and I hope she can never have anymore children so when they get to become burdensome to her she can go throw them in a swamp and pray they won't be found for 6 months too. That should be part of her release from jail. GET HER TUBES TIED!!!!!!!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bill

    Now Nancy Jane can try to convict someone, without a trial. You will have to search hard to find a dumb DA as this one to use voodoo DNA. It proves just how stupid TV can get in a trial with the voodoo evidence.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Speedbump

    Does "Not Guilty" means "I did not do it" ??? thank you.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. tiff

    absolutely un-BELIEVEABLE!!!!!!! if she didnt kill her why all the lies why hid the fact that she was dead. what is this world coming to. not even guilty of manslaughter weather invol or vol. what is wrong with those jurors??? so upset, but hey atleast she has burnt her bridges with all of her friends and family, no1 else to lie on. i am waiting on the lifetime movie for this to come out i am sure she'd want to play in it.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. johnjohninla

    Today the american public hold their head in shame.
    The ugly american rears it's ugly head.
    The jury did the right thing.
    america's should be ashamed of themselves...but won't be.

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