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. heyhey

    There would be no book deals or interviews on cnn with a guilty verdict. the jurers have insured there future wealth and a murderer walks free. why dont somebody sum up the totals of what each jurer ends up making. hey cnn how much did you make on commercial time? the media only helps murderers walk free

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

    What about the 3 years of her life they took from her?

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

      what about caylee's 3 year life casey took from caylee

      July 5, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • nikki

      So didn't get to lie or steal for 3 years, big deal.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Roscoelette

    The jurors must be ashamed of their verdict if they won't explain it to the media.

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

    Typical moronic responses here. Little kid dies and people want someone to pay for it so they rush to judge. She might be guilty but there is a little thing called evidence. They didn't have it. The verdict was correct. She is a POS sure and maybe guilty but that is nto proof of anything.

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

      proof is that casey was the last to be seen with caylee and then caylee ends up in the woods

      July 5, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • nikki

      My car doesn't smell like a dead body!!!! Evidence?? Did you forget that she didn't report Caylee missing for 31 days. By then the evidence was decomposing.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • jtramblinwolf

      i agree with nikki and also how can someone put their baby in the woods and go party and to go on living their life it's like having a puppy that is sick and someone puts that puppy in the woods or leaves that puupy on the side of the road to die and then they just go live their life like nothing is wrong and knowing that they could go back and save that puppy i could not ever do something like people that can well they do not have a soul

      July 5, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • nikki

      Geez. 1. Caylee went missing. Casey did not even report her missing. Cindy did
      2. Her car smelled of a dead body.
      3. She borrowed the neighbor's shovel.
      4. And she lied and lied and lied and lied and LIED. Innoccent people do not lie, even about where they work?

      July 5, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jtramblinwolf

    my condolences for the caylee's family i feel so sad for them when i seen geroge,cindyand lee testified i could see the hurt and then i seen casey just sitting there stoned face i couldn't blieve it i am 50 years old and i have watched alot about crime on tv and i have watched how people act in real life the only people that can have a stoned look on their face or act like they just don't care they do not have a soul people think that they can do anything or say anything they want to and get away with it people might deal with greif differently but they know what they do and have done and they blame it on greif and (or)something other than theirselfs also i want to say you people that wants to judge others judge yourselfs first i do not agree with the verdict

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

      Say it with me.

      E-V-I-D-E-N-C-E

      July 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Robert Burdick

    Looking at these folks at the courthouse AND the media.... All animals. Every last one of them

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

    Casey was the last to see Caylee alive. Can't they charge her with child neglect.

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

    There is no justice for CAYLEE MARIE ANTHONY!! May God bless little Caylee!!

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

      yeah god bless caylee

      July 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ladont

    Casey doesn't win. Where does she go now? She crucified her mother, father and brother. She has no place to live and isn't likely to find a real job. My guess is even Tony won't take her call. In all likelihood, she'll be forever looking over her shoulder to be sure that someone who disagrees with the jury isn't going to kill her.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. boycottcompnaies

    BOYCOTT ALL COMPANIES THAT PAY HER MONEY

    July 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tony2812

    Now that Casey has been exonerated, she can now focus on finding the real killer.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • nikki

      Really. She didn't look for Caylee, what makes you think that she will look for the real killer?
      Buy her a mirror. Done.

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

    I guess that you become a celebrity convicted of murder or any other crime that you walked away free, I would want the Orange county to convict Casey Anthony of wrongful death. Oj was found quilty of wrongful death after his aquittal for the death of his ex-wife and Ron Goldman. I hope that Casey's parents will disown Casey and never forget that precious little girl, Caylee Anthony.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Wayne

    Amen Tom. My case was just proven in a previous post. I think George Anthony, being a detective, knew how to make this a dry bones case to cover his disposal of a drowned Caylee. I am not dispassionate to caylee, but feel sorryfull for an abused Casey, who was fearful to death of a powerful, overbearing, abusive, ex-detective of a father. He covered a lot of sins and knew how to play the system and act the role. I believe he needs looked into with a more critical eye.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. assassannihilator

    Does this mean the corporate media can go back to talking about our wars, our crumbling infrastructure, our sick and dying populace and our backward education system? Has the circus finally left town? Or will there be another three year old murder with cameras in the court room? Pathetic.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. HERSHEY

    This is an outrage!!! This woman should have been found and proved GUILTY. As a mother I would have found her GUILTY of all charges!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • MICHELLE

      i guess thats not why you are on any jury because you would automatically assume. don't judge unless u wanna be judged

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