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. Cristy

    Let' us kill Cassey, she's will not going to get away with this. Please justice for Caylee.

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

    The only justice left for Caylee is in the hands of all of us: dont spend a penny on any publication thar gives any glory to rhis lady or her family; dont watch shows thar talk about them or have them on it; dont support any way she or her family can make money or be famous from Caylee's death. The omly thing we are sure is that Caylee is dead, was disposed as trash with no dignity and her body was eaten by animals. Whoever is responsible will answer for their actions soonwe or later. Lets just not add to this pooor little girl misfortune by allowing anybody make money from it. Rest in peace Caylee.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. susan

    thank G-d that the jury did what they were charged to do...that is to look for proof beyond a reasonable doubt....and not to act on emotion or what they thought might have happened...regardless of what i think happened the prosecution presented only supposition and suggestions as to what happened to that poor baby... and although the story might have worked in some minds it did not present a complete picture when you had to apply the facts..( or should i say lack of facts).

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

    She was found not guilty in a court of law. However, there is a higher Judge that she will give an account to and His name is God Almighty. Trust me, she has not gotten with anything.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. SOMEONE PLEASE SHUT NANCE GRACE UP!

    SHE IS A BLUBBERING IDIOT. THIS CASE WAS NEVER A DEATH CASE AND THE PROSECUTION WASTED MILLIOINS OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS. NOW SHE'S BLAMING THE JURY. SHE SHOULD BE DISBARRED AND CNN SHOULD BE SUED FOR ITERFERING WITH JUSTICE.

    PERHAPS NANCY CAN TAKE CASEY'S PRISON CELL.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tom

    Who is the black female analyst on CNN? Geez, she acted like 3 years MIGHT not be enough for a 4 year sentence. Who serves 75% of their sentence? And who is given the maximum sentence to begin with? Geez, she needs to do her homework.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Brenda

    I believe the media has a responsibility to maintain facts regarding this case in their reporting. I have watch the trial and coverage from the beginning and refused to continue to listen to the media's rush to judgement. In our country, you are innocent until PROVEN guilty. The media had already issued their verdict before the trial started and whipped the country into a frenzy. I listened to the testimony and looked at the evidence presented and felt there is reasonable doubt. All of the evidence was compromised. The car was moved, not once, but twice and items were removed prior to the police being called. The trash was put into a dumpster; no proper chain of custody to prove it was unaltered. Items were removed from the car and items were placed into the car. No way to substantiate the evidence was not compromised. At the scene of the body, multiple people were at the scene prior to December 11, 2008., including Equesearch, Roy Kronk (not once but 4 times and he manipulated the bag and skull!) and the private investigators hired by George and Cindy Anthony. The site was compromised and all evidence could not be valid. Lies, partying, and a tattoo do not make a person a murderer. The jury was charged with looking at the FACTS and I believe in doing as instructed could render no other verdict than not guilty. Does Casey know what happened? I believe she does. Could Caylee's death been accidental? Yes. Will we ever know? Maybe not. I feel sorry for these jurors becaus they are being brutalized by the public and the media for their decision. Let's all calm down and be civilized, please. Instead of protesting and screaming about Casey, put your efforts toward remembering this entire family lost a child.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. 2yutes

    WHY ARE PEOPLE EVEN MENTIONING RACE? SHE DIDNT KILL A BLACK CHILD!! THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RACE...PLEASE! THIS HAS TO DO WITH BRAIN DEAD JURORS & HOW WE SHOULD LET THE PUBLIC DECIDE!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Chas

    We can kill them before they are born, now we can kill them afterward as well. Great message to America's justice system. You have no rights until you are an adult.

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

    Someday- Casey Anthony will have to answer to the man above- she may have gotten off here on earth, but when the time comes......the man above will decide her fate...Because he KNOWS what happened!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. AC

    IF SHE IN FACT MURDER HER, I DON'T THINK SHE WILL BE ABLE TO SLEEP AT NIGHT REGARDLESS IF SHES IN OR OUT OF JAIL. THAT IS SOMETHING THAT SHE IS GOING TO HAVE TO LIVE WITH FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joe

    EVERYBODY WAS WAITING ON JUSTICE TODAY. OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM WAS LIKE A SLAP IN THE FACE. I READ A POST THAT SOMEONE SAID THAT THERES NOTHING WRONG WITH A MOTHER PARTYING IT IS WHEN IT IS AT THE EXPENSE OF A CHILD. AND HOW MANY MORE MOTHERS WILL PUT THERE KIDS IN A TRASH BAG BECAUSE SHE GOT BY WITHOUT. JUSTICE WAS NOT DOWN TODAY BUT THE LORD SAYS IF YOU HARM A CHILD TO PUT A MILLSTONE AROUND YOUR NECK AND BE CAST INTO THE DEEPEST SEA,JUSTICE WILL BE DONE. THE BIBLE SAYS JUSTICE IS SAITH THE LORD.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • oh_lol

      no u

      July 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • oh_lol

      wat

      July 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juliana

      it also says, don't judge, did you skip that part?

      July 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mike

    One word.., "Shock.." Mike in Montana

    July 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Casey now a detective

    Now Casey can devote her time to finding the REAL killer! Just like OJ!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Wanna-be-Killer

    Way to get away with murder Casey! Now I know if I want to kill someone, do it in Florida! I mean they caught you lying out your teeth several times, they found sites on how to make chloroform and other methods of killing on your computer and you were out having the best time of her life while your daughter was supposedly missing. I know I would leave less evidence than that. Seriously, what's the point of even having trials anymore? We might as well just flip a coin on if criminals are guilty or not guilty. It wouldn't cost us taxpayers all this money and the verdicts would come out the same. And for those of you who think, "how could god let this happen?"; if there is a god, he is responsible for more evil than all of history's most ruthless put together. Hitler attempted genocide on people- god was successful!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juliana

      first of all, who decided were the jury not God. Second THERES NO EVIDENCE. get over it.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
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