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. Jenil

    This is a travesty. She did something wrong. We all know it. What mother goes out partying and enters hot body contests during a time where a)her daughter is missing or b) had just died by drowing in a pool?(as she claims).....This is awful. AWFUL. That poor little girl.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jennifer

    Those jurors have a lot of explainning to do.

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

      For 31 days this mother did not report where her daughter was and not even a child neglect charge? That not right!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Race MATTERS

    Sad day in AMERICA when a person can KILL their child and still get OFF for Murder, but b/c they are young, White, 'hot' and pretty THEN they can Get OFF for Murder.... Folks, the Devil is EVERYwhere and its sad we often let him tend to bait and trick us at times such as this.

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

      Let this would of been a different race? The verdict would of been much different. People has been convicted who had lesser evidence against them. B/c she is a liar and a self-centered person she gets off. I just dont understand these Jurors. I really dont.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JoAnn

    So maybe now Casey will set out to find who killed Caylee, just like OJ and The Ramsays said they'd find "the real killers". "RIP Caylee, Jon Benet, Nicole & Ron. Justice will prevail one way or another.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Allen

    She is a textbook psychopath. She is guilty . . . same as OJ . . . and, for now, she has gotten away with it . . . but, like OJ, she will find some other occasion with her newfound audacity and brazenness to get herself back into trouble - will likely start with her parents (she may even try to poison her father, figuring she can get away with that, too) . . . and all this assumes someone doesn't kill her first to bring about the justice little Caylee Anthony deserves. It is a sad day for justice today . . . but, just as OJ found out, being found "not guilty" by a jury that does not know all the facts the public knows, does not set one free. An unbelievable, shameful, disappointing and unjust verdict. I remain in shock.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lisa

    Of course it would be no for them to talk to the press..they know...Here is my solution...let's all boycout any books that come out from this especially brom Baez or the Anthony's...let them not profit for letting this little girl not have justice...do I hear an amen....when they are on talk shows turn it off, enough is enough...she (Casey) does not get any attention. Any potential employers should not hire a known pathical liar...may she live off her parents forever..

    July 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jim

    I am very proud to be an American today, and very grateful that we still have at least one system that works as it should. This "Witch Hunt" mentality of the masses that we got to see lately is absolutely disgraceful. Then you have people like the worthless Nancy Grace using this opportunity to make a name for herself... what a horribly disgusting person. How could anybody watch this wretch without throwing up? Then on the opposite end, you have people like Geraldo, who once upon a time I despised, but recently has shown great integrity in many situations, including this one. He defended what he believed in, even in the face of death threats and massive scorn from the "Burn the Witch'ers". I have watched this case with an open mind and came to the exact same conclusion the jury did. Even if she was guilty, which I don't believe, the prosecution did a terrible job. The only thing that mattered to them was getting their conviction and making a name for themselves, probably in the hopes of running for some elected position. They, and the police, violated all her rights, then used cheap tactics and emotions to try to get their conviction, hoping that the jury was too gullible to see what was really happening. Maybe they should have actually tried to find the truth, instead of picking their "witch" and then trying to make the evidence fit their position.

    Congratulations on your freedom, Casey. Hopefully you will be able to find yourself a new life, without interference from all the Witch Hunters.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • C.Miller

      All that babbling to prove you are an idiot? You do know that she basically admitted that she was involved by her defense? Move along. You are no better than the morons on the jury.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      You are probably one of the jurors, or the one who called Dr Drew stating Casey was a good mother...there is a bigger judgement coming from one above...let's just say may her life her on earth prepare her for the hell she is going to be in when she dies.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sharon

    JUSTICE did not prevail for this murdered 2 year old child, my her mother, and this has to be the worst jury that has been in a courtroom for a long time. Jose Baez tried to stand on the steps today and PRETEND to be a concerned person. He was a fake, it showed, now he will celebrate for freeing a murderer. It shows the USA and the citizens here that is you wish to murder your child..do it in Florida. The jury is now being a coward as a group and individual by sneaking off and not facing the majority of the public with the horrible decision made. Where is Justice for Caylee. There was none. She became last on the list for JUSTICE in this jury mind. A jury is suppose to listen to all experts and failed to listen to any of the experts and the humans that were in contact with this horrible person, Casey. We all know she is guilty. She now walks free to pick up her party lifestyle and profit from the death of her child that she murdered. How can one of the jurors face their families, the public, go on with life as normal when they have ignored a murdered child and let a murderer go free. No one else had access to any of the items and the child but the mother. As was just said on TV.. This horrible jury just gave the mother a gold star for murder. They did not do justice to the child, the justice system, the public. This is a crime in itself. The jury must not like their decision because now they hide..they run..they are not proud of wha they did..

    July 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sasha

    Just remember we all will be JUDGE by GOD and he knows what she did and the lies she told so we know what will happen to her. I feel baby Caylee needs to RIP and how can she when her mother did this to her 🙁 I do not care who you are your not going to go out a party as if you have no worries in your life if your child was kidnap or dead she has no soul and knows she did it. I pray that the truth does come out. Caylee please R.I.P and spread your wings and fly since nothing bad can ever happen to you again.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. senica

    Nancy Grace is an idiot.....just had to get that out. This case has given me a lot of faith in our justice system again. That a jury of 12 can make a decision and put aside all media and public opinions means ALOT. You have to make a decision beyond all REASONABLE DOUBT. There was plenty of reasonable doubt in this case. The jury made the right decision. I'm proud of them.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tom

    US Judicial system worked perfectly. The prosecution has to present SOME EVIDENCE which they did NOT. Next time, shake up the Magic 8 ball....that would have provided more evidence that what the state showed.

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

      Yeah Casey Not Guilty

      July 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt Damon

      You are the problem with the system. A naive cowardly douch you are. Putting a dead body in her car with photos of her at a party just after her death and the google search for chlorform on their computer. What the f do you consider damming evidence. You are almost ignorant enough to qualify for jury duty.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. RUSurprised

    Her new tatoo "I fooled them!"

    July 5, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Buddy R

    Another murderer walks free.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julie

      What a travesty of justice. A double-edge sword of our justice system at work, just another OJ all over again. I wonder if Casey will be going into witness protection? She has thown every family member under the bus – including law enforcement – who is going to stand by her now?

      July 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. FCasey

    Casey is not found guilty thru out our court system but I am sure that she will be soon punished by karma. OJ is a perfect example of how Karma works.
    I just want to say good luck with your future paths Casey. But please make sure you go back to Baez for help when you need a job or food as Baez is well known of saving social garbage when we don’t need!!!!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JohnCBarclow

    Hear that, ladies? Feel free to murder your children if they get in the way of your rock and roll lifestyle.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • SHARON

      why do you fill because she went out to clubs, that she killed her baby? you go out to, and i believe that her father and brother is responsible, and they did that, and they new Casey goes out and was not home that day, she did not kill her, how can she duck tape her and put her in a car, how stupid is that... this girl can not of done all that her self.. lets get real people!!!!

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