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. Myles

    Anthony told lies from the time her daughter was last seen, to a MONTH later when sheriff's investigators were notified. Those include telling her parents she couldn't produce Caylee because the girl was with a nanny named Zanny - a woman who doesn't exist; that she and her daughter were spending time in Jacksonville, Fla., with a rich boyfriend who doesn't exist; and that Zanny, non existent, had been hospitalized after an out-of-town traffic crash and that they were spending time with her. What was her motivation for telling these lies, murder perhaps?

    July 5, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JohnJay

    Twelve jurors became one collective mind today to tell the prosecution, "you have written a check you can't cash." The biggest problem with our judical system is the elected district attorneys and judges who pander to public opinion in order to get reelected. Find someone to charge and find (make) the evidence. These folks are reelected by public opinion, the kind of rush to judgement displayed by the blood thursty types participating here. If you have never been up against this machine, I hope you never have to defend yourself against it. Only by the brave message of these civic minded twelve people can we keep the system in balance for the rest of us. Appointments to terms of office for DA's and Judges would lessen the vested interest these people have in high conviction rates and generally seeking the spotlight of public opinion.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • sandi

      What's wrong with you? Can you not see evil has prevailed and justice has been lost. You do your name no justice.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joan

    Very sad, no justice for Caylee.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sandi

    Thank God this blog is here, because I just want to scream. These jurors will never sleep well again. As each juror rests their head on their fluffy pillows each night, little Caylee will be whispering "where is justice for me?" As for me, I will always include her in my prayers as though she was my grandchild. God bless all the law enforcement officers and citizens who sought to save this child's life.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justice For Caylee

      You mean the ones that waited 4 or 5 months to look in the woods less than a mile from the home, after Kronk told them they should? Just killing someone else without evidence or motivation other than I want blood too, isn't justice for Caylee. Its just more blood lust. Prove someone actually did it and how, then take justice.

      July 5, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Wayne

    It is sad we are a nation where a people's belief's are determined and influenced by the advice and opinions of news media. Our finest hour has just been shown by the verdict in the Anthony trial by 12 jurors who had no such input, but only evidence on which to make a decision. I thank God for our jury system. Now I can stop watching and listening to the idiotic opinions of talking heads in the hope of gleaning a few news facts. When did news stations and media stop reporting news and become an entertainment system of wild opinions? I am going back to my newspaper where facts are more evident and BS opinions easier ignored and not the waste of time the TV has been.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. April

    Okay, now that I’ve had time to digest this load of ‘justice’ I have to say I am thoroughly appalled. This mother (and I use the term loosely) doesn’t report that her toddler is missing for 31 days. Instead of flipping out and calling in everyone she can to help her look for her daughter, she decides the best course of action is to go out partying, having body shots and living “Bella Vita”. Her parents corner her and then she says the baby is with the sitter – who the mom can’t find now. Yep, as a mom those are the kind of sitters I use…NOT. Moving on….

    In interview after interview with the police Casey decides that the best course of action this time is to lie to the police because she is so very concerned with where her daughter is. Hmmm…make sense…NOT.

    Now, if any sane person were to have knowledge of someone killing their child (accident or not) it would suffice to say that the sane person would offer that knowledge to the authorities ESPECIALLY when the sane person is sitting in jail looking at the DEATH PENALTY. Oh wait, by Casey Anthony logic I’m sure it made much more sense to wait and blame the dad/grandfather because he was suddenly so abusive during Casey childhood. Hmmm….convenient? Sure.

    So many people have had abusive childhoods but guess what? They are not out killing their kids. Abuse has become a convenient crutch for use by the masses. Let us take a good hard look at the smiling face of Casey Anthony as she is found NOT GUILTY of the most serious crimes of which she was charged.

    Now let us think long and hard on one more smile that we won’t see again…Caylee’s. Where is the justice for her? Where is Caylee's Bella Vita?

    July 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      First, you ASSUMED that Casey Anthony is playing with a full deck/sane. Second, where in that longwinded statement did you provide 1 iota of evidence that Casey Anthony KILLED her daughter. Oh yeah, you didn't huh?

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

      I couldn't have said it better....so upset right now...: (

      July 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justice For Caylee

      Tom, I agree. Tj, I too am upset that half a million was wasted without sufficient evidence to justify it. Caylee should have justice and it should be identifying the person who did it with more than speculation and lets get that person because I really don't like her. If someone else killed Caylee, since the evidence didn't seem to prove Casey did it, would it be justice to kill her mother too, just to make you and others feel good?

      July 5, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tom

    The US judicial system works exactly as it is supposed to. You don't prove your case, a Not Guilty is the verdict.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mr Cloddy

    Hot white girls are teasers and should do whatever they want without punishment

    July 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. PeterD

    She is already booked by The Arena Host CNN Hero Elliott Spitzer.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ashley

    I think that everybody assumed that she killed Caylee and thought that she was going to get the death penalty and then once they all found out that she not guilty they are all mad because they were wrong. They never had enough evidence from the start to convict her. People can say what they want but you can't change what the jury said. No one will ever know the whole truth about this whole situation. No one will ever know how Caylee die or who killed her. Everybody can think what they think but just because everybody thinks she did it doesn't mean it's right. Judging the jury that they made the wrong choice because everybody thinks that Casey kill Caylee is not right. They never had enough evidence to ever convict Casey from the start

    July 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lineth

      Ok, she is guilty because her daughter was missing and she was partying in clubs not worrying about her daughter. If my daughter was missing for sure I wouldn't be partying in clubs...so that makes her guilty to me duh!!!

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

      And just because fairytale believing adults want to see the good in everyone doesnt mean that Casey is innocent. She is clearly guilty of gross indifference as a mother. I am a mother myself and I can GUARANTEE that if (GOD forbid) one of my children were to go missing I would search the Earth, turning over every rock, knocking on every door until I found them. I can promise you that I would not be out doing body shots and living it up and not saying a word to anyone about my child being missing. I can tell you this too, yes, I love my parents BUT if one of my parents killed my child accident or not, they are going to answer for that. Yes, people are upset about the verdict. Yes, some of us wanted a different verdict but we all have to be content with the fact that Karma is inevitable. We all get what's coming to us whether we want it or not.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Amy

    The worst part of this whole thing now, is that there will never be any justice for this precious little girl! The jurors just let her justice walk out the courthouse doors.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. garwin1

    Where is everyone coming up with the notion that she can't be tried again? If new clear and convincing evidence surfaces, then she most certainly can be charged and tried again. Double jeopardy applies only to the evidence used in this trial.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lucky Casey

    Casey Anthony must go out and sing *God Bless America * she is so lucky she have the white man justice on her side, put a black woman in her shoes same case same age and her azz would getting the death penalty.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joshua Wertheim

    OK – the prosecution press conference is unfolding and the sherriff just said "I hope anyone who doesn't live near Casey Anthony's home on Hope Springs Drive avoids the area". Now, is he an idiot or what for announcing the street where she lives to the entire country?

    July 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Leann

    Hope she rots in hell. No justice for Caylee:(

    July 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318