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. Lisa

    This was a complete FAIL! First off, Casey was the last person with Caylee, gee is the mother not responsible for keeping the well being of her child? Second, she lied, lied and lied again, last I heard lies are to cover up the truth! Let her go to the street and hopefully street justice will prevail. Or let her go to prison, I hear they don't like Chld Murderers! Either way her life will never be the same Bella Vita Casey.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Justice For Caylee

    Can anyone explain why, when a toddler is missing, and there is a flooded wooded area less than a mile from her home, within toddling distance; why, why, why, did they not thoroughly search the flooded area immediately, once the child was determined to be missing regardless of the rainy conditions?

    So it was flooded. That's where you look for missing toddlers. Aren't such local bodies of water the first place you would look for a missing toddler? If that would have been done, it was days or weeks after the car was found empty, so the wrapped body should have been there.

    Even if the police were sure Casey did it, wouldn't that have been a prime space to do a thorough search and wouldn't it either have made their case clearer or redirected to more relevant provable possibilities. If such a common sense search of that flooded wooded area was done thoroughly as soon as the child was known to be missing, how different might this be.

    Yes Casey may have done it. Casey may have been involved in doing it, or only aiding in the cover up of someone else doing it, or with the evidence presented when details are considered, it could have been someone else altogether. Casey was a liar and a thief, so might someone else, even someone close, have had an axe to grind.

    So yes please find justice for Caylee, but for God's sake find and punish the right person, and if that right person really was Casey, then place the blame on the prosecution for believing every thing the media told them and not thoroughly doing their job.

    I remember a time when newspapers weren't even allowed to comment on the nationality or race of an accussed person because it could taint the trial and lead to a mistrial – how in the world does that compare with what we've heard by the media for three years, especially by tot mom dragging tot mom through the mud night after night. Bombshell, the emptiest barrels make the most noise. Bombshell, you need more than not liking someone to convict thank God. Bombshell sometimes law enforcement and prosecution are just as guilty of going through the motions to collect a paycheck as many others out on the street. That and no justice YET for Caylee both, are what is really sad.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mdw

    NO EVIDENCE = NOT GUILTY, inspite of the screaming CNN reporters, Nancy, jane and others trying this case on TV and yelling for blood, they shoud be sued by Casey for libel and slander. GTH Nancy, you lost, GO Casey, I don't think you intentionally hurt Caylee, I think she died by accident and you paniced and made some mistakes, NOT murder though

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

      so manslaughter?

      July 5, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • nrsmeg

      I AGREE. NANCY GRACE SHOULD BE SUED. NANCY, SHOULD NOT BE CONVICTING PEOPLE BEFORE A TRIAL BEGINS!!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JMS

    Did anyone else happen to notice at 10:37 a.m. PST that CNN's website reported that Anthony had been CONVICTED OF ALL COUNTS, only to TOTALLY CHANGE the report 20 minutes later to report she had been acquitted of murder? How irresponsible of CNN to allow a false report of conviction on all counts (and false hope in our justice system!) to be slapped all over their website. And, here's a little shout-out to ALL the jurors on this case: For this acquittal verdict, you should burn in hell along with the mother who is GUILTY AS SIN! Too bad you were all more concerned about skipping out of jury duty early to start your summer vacations than ensuring JUSTICE for this little girl!!!!

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

      Wow...really? The jurors should burn in hell? They followed the law and the directions they were given. The prosecution had to prove beyond a REASONABLE DOUBT, that Casey did it. They did NOT do that. They followed what they were supposed to do, but people like you and Nancy Grace and everybody else who wants to crucify people before a verdict is reached are ridiculous. The prosecution could not prove that she did it. That's the cold hard fact, so you saying that the jurors should burn in hell because the prosecution couldn't prove something? What kind of person does that make you? Really you just sound like somebody who has formed their opinion based off of the biased reporting of this case.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Topgun

    I of course was shocked by the verdict.. While I did not agree that she should have been found guilty of Murder 1, I was very sure that they would have found her guilty of one of the "lesser" verdicts, like aggravated child abuse.
    But it is what it is. I feel sorry for Cindy and George as their lives are destroyed. In essence so is Casey's. Will she be able to meld back into society after she gets out on the lying charges. Did OJ? No, indeed, there are plenty of losers in this one, but no winners. Except of course Jose Baez. He has made a name for himself now, so defendants will flock to his doorstep.
    Sad day for us all. Caylee, rest in peace.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Shan

    Crack as in the drug. I should have said crack-head journalism. If we just ignore it (Nancy Grace) will it go away? Forever?

    July 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Deb

    I think that jury . .should be ashamed of themselves. .they didn't do Caylee justice. We have a two year old little girl. .who i suppose choroformed herself. .and put three patches of duct tape on her mouth herself. .and THEN put herself in a car trunk in 90 degree weather to die. What was this jury thinking. . VACATION..that's what they were thinking. To let someone like that evil demon walk the streets. .i can only hope the jury is watching their little ones.

    TOTALLY DISGUSTED WITH THE WHOLE JUSTICE SYSTEM. .IF THAT'S WHAT YOU WANT TO CALL IT.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • guest1234

      There was no cause of death or direct DNA. Don't blame the jurors or system. Blame the prosecutors. They didn't have the evidence! They can only convict her on what they have evidence to back up!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • J. Freeman

      Caylee WAS brought justice. Her mother didn't wrongfully
      go to jail for her murder

      July 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Damien

      Instructions To the Jury: If you do not give a SH%T, Then you Must Aquit. Good job Folks, Pinellas County, FL is proud of you and welcome you back.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Suzanne Rutherford

    I think with all my heart that this young woman is guilty – of much more than providing false information to the police. Her actions at the time that poor baby was missing speaks louder than words. Her constant lies and story changing pretty much tells us that even if she didn't kill this child, she sure did know who did. Someone who is innocent doesn't have the need to lie and point fingers at other family members to prove their innocence. I think a woman who murdered her own child will be walking amongst us soon, but the sad thing of it all – the jury was correct in their decision. That jury had to examine all the evidence and make a ruling based on the preponderance of the evidence, and the truth of the matter is, they simply did not have sufficient proof that she murdered that child. They proved she is a liar, they proved that she had an odor in the trunk of her car, they proved that she was out partying and getting a tatoo when that child was missing, but they had no proof that she killed her. Casey Anthony will get hers one day, but the jury had to render a verdict based on facts, not on emotion.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. vigilante

    Justice was not served. Child murdered and she walks.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. common sense

    Did anybody besides me notice the "OJ" look on her face right after the verdict. At first very shocked at the getting away with murder thing, then laughing about it with her lawyers.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. tt

    these jurors weak and dumb as a box of rocks they will all figure it out on there own now , and will live with it for there whole lives you srewed up big time the little girls dead and you let her mother off see partying and you have to hide for the rest you you life enjoy

    July 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sarah

    All of these people screaming about justice! LOL! Ask a lawyer what justice is? They cant really define it because it is a very relative term! Casey, im sure, feels that justice has been served. The state failed to prove their case or maybe they never had the correct bad guy to begin with.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. cheryl

    Only in the united states u can kill ur child and go free!!molest them and get maybe 1 year.. But lock up the drug dealers forever!! Wonder why our kids feel no respect and have non for anyone! They have no worth!! I hope She finds someone to give her the KARMA she deserves....

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

      Conrad black gets 4 years for some screwy accounting..... but kill a child and get off scott free. America the great

      July 5, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Concerned parent

    How do you lie about the whereabouts of your child for 30 days found "Not Guilty". You ask where is the proof, a parent a real parent would notified police after a moment of not knowing where your child is. Not partying or laying up with your boyfriend. This is ridiculas.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • J. Freeman

      The fact of the matter is, because she lied & partied did not prove that she murdered her daughter with intent.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. DIDI

    WHEN was the time that she actually cry for this beautiful little Caylee Selfish monster When did she actually morn her child

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