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. katherine

    you deserve her, creep

    July 5, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Alfonso

    There is no justice for little Caylee Anthony, the mother walks away and could do one year in prison.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Gary M

    Not Guilty Really" Even Stevie Wonder knew Casey was guilty of murdering her child, what a big black eye for the Florida Justice system.

    FYI Casey, good luck trying to get past the Gates of Heaven on judgement day, because you just secured a 1st class one-way ticket to that eternal flame below!

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

      Last time I checked, even murderers could get into heaven.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Idiotfish

    Problem is everybody wants to be politically correct. Regardless of virdict, the justice is not served for a poor 2 years old girl. We all are guilty for that. We are.

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

    How sad. No caring mother would keep their daughter's dissapearence a secret, or be out partying when their child is missing, or lie with fake stories to police when they are trying to find her daughter. ANY REAL MOTHER KNOWS in their heart this girl is GUILTY! A MOTHER WHO LOVES TEHIR CHILD WOULD NOT DO THESSE THINGS. Plain and simple, there is apparently not enough evidence to prove it though. I pray the look in Caylee's eyes when she killed her HAUNTS Casey for the rest of her life. I pray she see's that little girls face every time she closes her eyes, every time she takes a drink. I pray she hears Caylees voice down every hallway, in every crowd, and in every passing child's voice. I pray she doesn't live a single day without a reminder of what she did to her own baby girl! Please God don't let her forget!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Zelle

    Poor Caylee, Casey will still have to answer someday for her actions. They Jury when picked did not want to be there. 33 days of testimony and only 11 hours to reach a verdict?? The jury did not request anything like testimony to be read to them or video agian to be seen NOTHING. I heard there was one juror that was going on a cruise July 7th and if casey was convicted there would of been a penalty phase whitch all of them would still be kept away from there family. So to me they were unsure did not want to really take the time and verdict not guilty. WOW!! I hope that juror enjoys her cruise.

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

    This is what happens when the defense is allowed to pick the jurors and they are all drug using red necks with no GF's from Florida who probably thought they could hook up with Anthony after they set her free. What a joke our Judicial System is..........

    July 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin in Atlanta

      Of the 12 jurors, 5 of them were men. So unless the jury was made up of a lesbian majority, your theory is bonkers.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Leann

    I would love to see what kind of tarts were selected to be on this jury. Thank you state of Florida for upholding your reputation as the worst state in the US. A state already full of criminals sets another one free. Her a** would be fried in the northeast.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • bigbangtheory

      A 12 man civilian jury is so fundamentally flawed its scary to even think about..12 retards from Florida just sent this deceiving child murderer free. The craziest part is the defense absolutely knew she killed Caylee so instead of blaming the murder on a random kidnapper/killer they had to resort to blaming Casy's parents on the murder and it worked!!!! Sad day for our judicial system, this case proves how broken it really is...

      July 5, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. kenson j-b

    I'd like to congratulate Jose Baez for his excellent job and his courage. I cant say the same for the "laughing guy" as Jose said last sunday. Now JB can say who's laughing now.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Freedom2011

    But will her parents let her have her car back?

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

    Want to know what people WITH NO LIVES look like? Look at the LOSERS who showed up at the courthouse every day.

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

    What a sad day for our Justice System.... Casey Anthony your day will come........

    July 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Newyorker

      So, you know better than the jurors? Or are you a member of the 'guilty until proven innocent' media posse?

      July 5, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • sue

      your right!! Her day will come...Just has not been served for Caylee Anthony. My heart goes out to this precious 2yrs old who will never grow up to be.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TERRI

    CONGRADUCATIONS CASEY!NOW GO AFTER THE PARENTS AND LET HER ALONG

    July 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • marcia

      you obviously know more about her parents than most. please...do tell!!!:)

      July 5, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. 12idiots

    how dumb can 12 people be?

    July 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • marcia

      terri seems to be a good example of DUMB!!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. LISAMCMC

    Stupidity reigns again, as it did in the OJ Simpson trial, as it did when convicting Dr. Jack Kevorkian, and as it will forever. I am left speechless by this verdict. What a bunch of morons they had on that jury. It's obvious why there was a unanimous "NO" by the jury when asked if they would like to speak to the media. I'd be embarrassed, too, and would hope and pray that no one ever finds out that I was a juror in this circus.

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