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. Eric

    I have not followed this trial closely but have surfed by CNN enough over the past several years to know two things: 1) Casey Anthony is not a nice person and 2) Nancy Grace (and others) have made a heck of a lot of money out of weaving together a case for convicting this woman before the trial started. Well, I think the defense lawyer got it just about right. Nancy is a master of the jury system UNLESS the jury doesn't cooperate, in which case, accoding to her, the jury is full of social derelicts (character assassination), the jury is irrational (counter to our system of justice), or she and her friends are the repositories of all truth (delusional). This whole experience is, in my opinion, an indictment of our 24/7 news cycle that perverts the idea of news and does not serve whatever function enightened disussion in a democracy should have. (Nancy actually made the remarkable happen: I actually found myself agreeing with Gloria Alred (whom Nancy then royally ignored). Accept it, Nancy - you're no "expert."; you're certainly not impartial. I'd take 12 people from another county any day.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. cait

    so. am i to believe that this little child killed herself, by chlorofoming herself, placing duct tape across her mouth and nose until she was dead, then she wrapped herself into her winnie the pooh blanket, double bagged herself, shoved herself into a laundry bag, rested for a few days in mummy's car trunk and then somehow was able to dump herself into a swamp to sleep for all eternity? REALLY???

    However she died, someone tossed her into the swamp.

    SOMEONEdid this.

    So...WHAT??? Is this to be one of life's "little mysteries" forever more?

    someone commited this heinous act. HOW DARE THEY??? i am looking at all the anthony family sideways. someone did it. someone knows the truth.

    THEY KNOW.

    And watch, when she's released, she will go back home to George and Cindy's house, like nothing ever happened. And she'll get rich off of her story.

    RIP little Caylee, for you have more people who love and care about you than practically any other human that has ever been on the planet. Know that you are loved, if not by your own mother and grandparents and uncle, but by thousands, hundreds of thousands? of others.

    I hope that calms your soul.

    This makes me believe more than ever that there is no God, and there is no Justice in America.

    Bella Vita for now; Casey Marie...to be continued.

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

    Another murderer freed. No justice for Caylee. The jurors will have to live with their decisions the rest of their lives. Dimwitted people.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. cindy

    I think they just flipped a coin!!! They must have found the 12 dumbest people in Florida... I hope George, Cindy & Lee put her on the street. Sue her for every thing she makes off this.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lineth

    Ughhhh, those jurors need to be shot asap for being so blind and stupid. We should be ashamed of this country's justice system. This monster got away so easy. Poor little girl where is her justice? Engrossed by this outcome!! I bet Casey will be dancing at clubs this weekend just as she did when her daughter was missing. Gross!!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. deedee

    Wow this is great casey can now go on to live a normal life. one day the truth will come out as to who really killed little caley if in fact she was killed and did not accidentally drown. Oh happy independence day everyone LOL

    July 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      i totally agree. I have said all along Casey did not do it.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. capcity

    Casey and OJ, two peas in a guilty but free pod...

    July 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • bob

      I said the same thing,maybe Casey and OJ can get together and make more kid.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rhonda

      OJ's in prison now though. For something else but still kharma 😉

      July 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • 2yutes

      So ashamed of our justice system right now! What more proof was there? The state had 1 theory while the 'Duh'fense had 50 theories. It all linked to her. She lied to buy time while her baby was laying in the woods she didnt even care. When she was let out she didnt even go look for the baby, she already knew the child was dead. Zanny the Nanny....really! Maybe the brain dead jurors also have a zanny the nanny. No wonder why they dont want to speak to the media, they dont want to stand behind their stupid decision...too chicken! Jurors should not be aloud to give the verdict, the judges should! This girl got away with what she did! If my dog was missing for 10 minutes I panic, nevermind a child!!! 31 days!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. barb

    Casey...get on your knees NOW and thank God for the stupid jury you had. PLEASE be sure to have your tubes tied ..you DO NOT need to bring another child into this world. And as far as the African American women in the comments...why is it always the African Americans that MAKE it a race issue.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sabrina

      Race is not an isssue but it is something to discuss for this case. Why? Well, I am a young, white female attorney working in the legal profession and I have to say, that if she had been a minority and poor in Florida I do not believe the verdict would have been not guilty. People feel sorry for Casey because no one wants to believe a young woman can and will murder her 3-year old child. Justice for Caylee will only come when Casey meets her maker.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. carolm01

    what a shame.... she is so guilty of first degree murder...she got away with killing her little girl....its ok tho...someday she'll answer to a higher power...

    July 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Meena12345

    and the JURY lets us down again. SERIOUSLY – The baby is with the nanny, the baby was kidnapped by the nanny, Was she is trying to find the baby in the hot body contest? – Not once has Casey spoken the truth, and the one thing I am convinced of is – she is a PRETTY DARN GOOD LIAR. Justice has been denied to Caylee – My heart goes out to that kid and the grand parents. RIP Caylee.
    IInnocent until proven guilty – SERIOUSLY?? what more was there to prove? Did the Jurors want a video tape of Casey putting a chloroform tissue over Caylee's mouth/nose? THERE sure are STRANGE people in that place – FLORIDA

    July 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. theartofmelody

    Look, it really does not matter what her parents, you, or the rest of the 7 billion people on this people planet "think" about whether she did it or not. The only thing that matters in this case is the evidence presented. As an outside follower I more than likely cannot have a truly good opinion on it, but from what I saw the case presented on both sides was shakey at best. There simply wasn't enough evidence to prove anything, and, in the justice system, if the prosecution's case is weak, then guilt beyond a reasonably doubt cannot be established. I am glad for this decision because I think the jurors followed their logical mindset rather than an emotional opinion.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • WOW

      I would like the jury to sit down one more time and think long and hard about this 3 year olds death. One question I would have them ask themselves is if Casey didn't kill her daughter then who did? I do think that someting could have happened that would make it an accident but, if it were turely an accident why didn't she call anyone. If the dad found out the little girl had drowned then why wouldn't he have reported it. He was a cop and knows that it would be considered a tragic accident. He wouldn't try and hide the body and make it look like a murder. That makes no sense.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rico

    If I were her, I'd rather be in prison. Did you see the mob waiting outside the court house? She won't be able to show her face anywhere in this country, except maybe the backwoods somewhere people don't have television. Justice IS served. Haha.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Disgusted

    So I guess the duck tape magically appeared on the little girls face.
    Shame on the entire family and those that think Casey is innocent....

    July 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. built on corruption

    IT IS FRIGHTENING TO THINK THIS "WOMAN" CAN GO ON TO HAVE MORE CHILDREN!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Name*Leash

    This is a joke . If you are a mother and are truely innocent you wouldn't be partying for 31 day and getting a tattoo that says beautiful life, an mother would be frantically searching and paranoid for her daughters saftey

    And if she didn't murder caylee WHO DID ????

    Casey I. Spoiled brat who killed a child for her selfish reasons .

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