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. Kay

    What kind of life is the Anthony family going to have now? Who would even want to go near them with a child killer in that home? They need to move away to Siberia. They are all SICK! I hope she never has another kid.

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

    So other people can view there opinions but I can’t. I feel that Casey was innocent and deserves to live her life without others looking down at her. She can come party over at my place anytime…. I’ll just have to remember to hide the chloroform from under the sink.

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

    case over can Nancy Grace stop calling Casey tot mom now. or is it true that cnn, hln are nothing more than an extention of the national inquirer just another rag news organization. i have always had a great respect for cnn and hln the bias in this case and a few others has really made me wonder. Please bring back unbiased news reporting.

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

    The ONLY funny thing about today is that Nancy Grace apparently has taken a vow of twitter silence. Normally, you can't shut the yellow journalistic lawyer up!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lah-Yur

    Wow, what a sh1t-storm of comments! Here's my take: She was found not guilty. That doesn't mean she didn't do it, it just means they weren't able to prove it. This sort of thing happens all the time. Probable murderers get off due to lack of evidence. Doesn't mean they didn't do it – it just means the prosecution did not have enough to support their charges.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. what if

    who is going to serve any JAIL TIME ? BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE LOCKED UP TO SERVE TIME; CASEY YOUR INCARCERATION BEGAN WHEN THE VERDICT WAS READ. MAY YOU HAVE MANY NIGHT'S OF UNEVENTFUL SLEEP(NOT LIKELY)

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

    the race card is being used alot in here. and to a certain point it is true. the only time a african-american gets this much national attention is when he or she is famous or when another race is involved. If I'm wrong, somebody name a case that the african-american wasn't famous and there wasn't another race involved.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • 12idiots

      12 idiots with no common sense ready to riot?

      July 5, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      The IQ of the jury was likely equal to that of most Florida residents.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • dee henderson

      Why did the sherrifs dept that was allerted by mr. kink the meter reader not investigate the area that he pointed out?
      Instead, the sheriff slipped in the mud, balled out mr. konk back in august and the body stayed in the swamp area
      for another four months. shame, shame shame on the orange couty sheriffs dept for not doing a better job.
      It caylees body had been discovered earlier when mr. konk alerted them, there might have been enough evidence
      for a conviction. Orange County Sheriffs Dept are at fault for incompetence, neglegence and laziness. you suck!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • John-NYC

      Florida has got to be the most ignorant state in the union.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Porgus

    I find it not only ridiculous, but tragically ironic that this woman has been given so much attention. Of course she is guilty. Anyone with common sense knows it, but children, woman, and men are murdered every day by others who will never be brought to justice. Are we so naive to find such behavior absolutely unacceptable (of course it is) within our own borders, but when we think of all the starving children and genocide out side of the US we think, "oh those poor people" then we get on with our day and accept those injustices as tragic, but not enough to concern ourselves with. Why do we find it so hard to believe that injustice rampantly exists within our society when it is such a commonality among our species. Are US citizens above all others? Of course we are not. To think so is ignorant and vain. My point in all this is, where are our comments or words of anger and frustration towards everything that is happening out side of the US. This murdered child had no advocate, but what makes this child more special than the starving children in Africa who meet a similar fate? I'm not suggesting in any way that this tragedy is anything short of just that. To put it simply, our species, not only our society, needs more people to speak up and say, "hey, this is messed up and we won't tolerate it any longer." Our species needs those of us, who are willing to concern themselves with issues that fall close to home, to expand that concern. My first sentence in this paragraph is a lie. I do not find it ridiculous that this woman has been given so much attention. What I do find ridiculous, is that all the other tragedies happening in the world are not given the same priority from us. Also, for those of you commenting on the topic of race in this forum, consider that these issues are more complicated than typical racism. Perhaps you should just ignore the ignorant adults who learned their stereotypes and "racism" and focus instead on teaching your children to know better. Perhaps you should consider that by making comments and bringing it up, when it has no merit, you are only feeding the fire and you yourselves are just as stereotypical and "racist" and those whom you accuse and complain against.

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

      The comments related to those issues are exactly where they need to be, in the threads pertaining to those stories. This is a thread about the injustice given to a MURDERED little girl. So if you want comments related to world hunger or other such issues, I suggest visiting those threads as you won't find those topics covered here.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. kateykelley

    not guilty- you've got to be kidding?!?!?!?!?

    July 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Today

    One lady in the jury clearly stated: I DO NOT JUDGE ANYONE...Wasn't that alarming?...by the way defense was pushing for that particular old "every day church goer" lady...Interesting, right?

    July 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. CindyD

    There is no such thing as a justice system, so why do we keep getting lied to? That walking deamon will get hers sooner or later. IF not in this life the next!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. AX

    * GEORGE KILLED CAYLEE *

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

      Quite possible. There is clearly more than just Caylee involved. She ran interference and won a not-guilty verdict.
      When more people are involved without the prosecution being able to do anything about it, then there is a real reasonable doubt that she was the one to kill the child.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Concerned Mother

    This woman was able to fool law enforcement, prosecution and a jury. On second thought she should end up with a book "Memoirs of a Killer Mother" and a reality show "The biggest liar"

    July 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rick

    only those who sat through the trial and saw all the evidence can say whether the verdict is accurate, but the Lord does know who did this and that person will be held accoutable in due time.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. The peoples mayor not

    Justice was served , where was the proof other than she appears a bit nasty
    thah she murdered her baby? Nancy Grace made this a cheap 3 years of TV shows which
    beats having to really talk about something new and different. Casey was Nancy Graves script 24/7/

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