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. Joanne

    in my opinion the prosecution goes overboard with forensics and loses the jury and the trial is dragged on. the prosecution wants the jury to realize they have all the info needed to get a conviction and in the process of this bores those that have the verdict in their control. not many jurors have Phd"s and just looks at the evidence that they can understand. if the decision is to be "beyond a reasonable doubt" then just make sure the jurors understand all the info that they are given.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. coconut007

    This was mistrial till the end. This crazy woman gets to walk around free while her daughter is now dead. It goes to show that you can get away with murder as long as you keep a straight face and start pointing fingers at every one. This woman should be put to death no question about it. This is America where even criminal get a fair trail.....yeah right!!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Capt George

    WOW! I am now watching the Sheriff of Orange County exctoll the virtues and professionalism of his staff. Is he referring to the professional staff that totally ignored the calls from the meter reader? The calls that could have resulted in recovering Caylee's body months before it was ultimately found? Thte calls that would have given prosecution far more forensic evidence if the body was found before it was completly decomposed?
    Sheriff...your people screwed up terribly, and it could be argued that their incompetance may have allowed a murderer to go free.. You have a huge set, Sheriff!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. single dad

    I dont understand, if someone took that long to report her child missing. Then said her child drowned and she tried to cover it up, it isnt a lock her up and throw a key case. Isn't a serious crime to not report a death IMMEDIATLEY, isn't a big crime to alter evidence, which she admits by trying to cover it up?

    She is found not guilty of murder, and manslaughter....Ok but what about those to main issues.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gloria

    Her parents need to rush her for a tubal ligation so this will not happen to the next baby. SO, SO SAD. Bless you Calee........

    July 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mickey

    I don't really think she will be "Walking Free" She is not going to be able to step foot anywhere in Florida without people recognizing her. She would Probably be more safe in prison. Her life will never be the same. I do believe that the state would have been able to do a better job presenting the case if the investigators would have done a better job investigating. This case could have gone back and forth for 10 years. I'm sure the jury was very confused with it all. But the fact of the matter is there was no proof. God will be her ultimate judge and I will leave it in his hands. Unless a psycho more crazy than she is doesn't get to her first. So so sad RIP Cayle!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DC

    She will pay for what she did, God will serve her justice.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Necola

    If indeed she did not kill Caylee, where was the child during those 31 days? If it was an accident, why did her body end up in the woods? Will there be charges against George Anthony? I mean, if the jury bought that drowning story, then must believe he had something to do with it. It's ridiculous!! An innocent and precious child is gone. What happened? Will Casey talk now? Can she explain what happened during those 31 days? If she didn't do it, she knows who did. Whose body was decomposing in the trunk? Why did cadaver dogs go to two different places of where Caylee had been buried in the Anthony's back yard?
    I can't believe it. This child didn't deserve this. How about child neglect? She is definitely guilty of that. Why wasn't she charged on that count? Or how about conspiracy to commit murder or withholding evidence during a murder investigation? It really shouldn't as it did. She is guilty of something. If not, why is Caylee dead?

    July 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Wow

    Apparently murder is not a crime anymore.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jackie Newman

    How about a global crowd-source? World jury says, Casey Anthony is guilty.

    This is the best resource I've found to see ALL Casey Anthony news in once place. Everyone agrees, Casey Anthony is guilty:

    http://kyoo.com/casey-anthony

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

      In my personal opinion i hope she dies a horrible death, by the hands of an ED GEIN,RICHARD REMIREZ,JEFFREY DOMMER,JIM JONES,JOHN WAYNE GACEY. If we're LUCKY!!!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sad in Indiana

    This is just breaking my heart.... Caylee, rest in peace baby!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. alex

    My question is, if Casey didn't killed her daughter, did she bring her daughter to a friend's house? If not, then I'm concerning if she contacted anyone to come over two days before the death or did she leave her daughter by herself in the house. There's no way that if the child was drowned, how did the child get in the trunk of Casey's car. Correct me if I'm wrong but don't parents keep an eye on their child at all time to where he or she is going or who he or she is staying with. In this case, if the child was drowned at Casey's home, then she is at fault. If Casey brought her child to a friend's house and drowned there, then her friend is at fault. It's preposterous how she gave false information to the law and yet she is proven innocent to a crime that was commited! That right there gives a big hole in the wall because if she would have told the truth to the officer, then the Police Department would have attempted to find the murderer of her daughter. This case should re-open in the supreme court because Florida just lost respect for this non-sense.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. SL

    sad day; no party will be fun enough, no drink will be strong enough to deal with the guilt in her mind and soul.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimbojones

      Casey Anthony is a sociopath. She feels no remorse or emotional pain. She needs no anesthetic.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. 10fore

    Everyone but the Jury knows who did it! Casey Anthony knows who did it! Our legal system relys on lying lawyers and so called lying witnesses and lying experts to get lying defendants off. The system is all about lying and money period. It stinks! Now they can start looking for the real murderer!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Simpstein

    she was lying all the time, someone shoot her pls

    July 5, 2011 at 3:56 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