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. TRT

    I would have voted not guilty as well due to the evidence or lack thereof....

    July 5, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. James H

    NO EVIDENCE ! Great job jury you got it right

    July 5, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • cait

      are you one of casey's rides? or just a wannabe??

      July 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. NANCY

    So, someone please clue me in – what caused Caylee's death and why was she buried and hidden in some woods – at least close to home, anyway! Why did mother Casey pretend EVERYTHING connected to her baby was the result of kidnapping and then "accidently" drowning? Not that it makes any difference now, but WHAT THE H*LL ?! did the jurors miss here? Just WAAAY to sad. Still hard to comprehend the verdict.

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

    I was suprised that she was not found guilty of some lessor charge but the jury has spoken. Truth of the matter, the media tried and convicted Casey Anthony before the trial even started. Much false information was thrown out there and Nancy Grace was the biggest culprit. Everything was "bombshell tonight". Yes there is a little girl dead and she was found dumped in the woods in plastic bages, but there was not enough there to convict her of 1st degree murder. Too many questions. Too many questions about her whole family except for her brother Lee Anthony.

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

    Hey. Someone wrapped her up and threw her in the swamp. DUH. Y'know, there is SOME evidence that ain't no denyin'... DUH.

    WHO WAS IT? AND WHY???

    July 5, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • NANCY

      Exactly! That's what I would like to know. Who wrapped Caylee in blanket, tape and bags? How did the body get in the woods? SOMEONE had to, of course. I mean, why is this particular "SOMEONE" not charged with, at least, abuse of a corpse?

      July 5, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. TEXANGAL

    Too bad the Trial couldn't be in TEXAS!

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

    "You can not convict someone, until they've had their day in court." - Jose Baez, Casey Anthony's defense attorney

    July 5, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. josie infante

    IIt is what it is people........ I just hope she doesn't have any more children. And, that she leaves this country, cuz she's iinfamous now. I don't think sh'ell live in peace anywhere in the country, thanks to the media.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • cait

      Thankfully, with all her newfound wealth, maybe she'll take off. I don't think Casey or myself would like to meet face to face...

      July 5, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. kenson j-b

    Everyone's been wondering where she's going to go now. The answer is easy: Jose Baez will give her a place to crash @ his house.

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

    In the end she is going to have the gilt in her head for the rest of her life.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. 2girlmom

    This verdict is disgusting!! A mother out partying while her little girl was supposedly "missing". Come on!! Lies after lies were told. Just another case of someone getting away with murder.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:00 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 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • TJKB

      I just hope she doesn't get pregnant again. It's a scary thought. Also she doesn't deserve to have another child.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. teufel

    I'd Hit It !!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • CNNbloger

      Preach on ian.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • CNNbloger

      My bad... Preach on ian and teufel.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Realist

    Janet, do you believe everything the state says? What can of bull have you been sniffing?

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

    So other people can view there opinions but I can’t. I feel that Casey was innocent and deserves to live her life without others looking down at her. She can come and have a pool party at my place anytime….just as long as her dad doen't come over. Also, I’ll have to remember to hide the chloroform from under the sink.

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

      Are you that desperate for a friend??? Let's say that it was an accident (you know, the kind with duck tape involved)
      do you call 911 or put the body in the car and dispose of it yourself. Why wasn't she at least charge with improper burial of a dead body?

      July 5, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • CNNbloger

      No, I wouldn’t do either one. I would try flushing her down the toilet. She wasn’t charged with improper burial of a dead body due to Caylee not actually being dead when they buried her. Caylee could rip out of the black plastic bag either due to it being a Hefty bag. Stretchy.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • CNNbloger

      No, I wouldn’t do either one. I would try flushing her down the toilet. She wasn’t charged with improper burial of a dead body due to Caylee not actually being dead when they buried her. Caylee couldn’t rip out of the black plastic bag either due to it being a Hefty bag. Stretchy.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • nikki

      Defense team said that she died due too an accidental drowning. Look up drowning in the dictionary.
      That means that she was dead. Question: Where you on the juror? Had Caylee of really drowned someone would of called 911, THE END!!! Flushed her down the toilet? Time to take your meds.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mike rocco

    i was following this case since the start and yesterday i had intuition that casey anthony will not be quilty of murder because she have a very good lawyer. she will be charged for misdemeanor which will cost her a 1 year in jail because of florida law if hse was in new york she will walk free.

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