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. 2yutes

    NO JUSTICE WILL EVER BE SERVED FOR THAT CHILD!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tom

    This case should have NEVER even been brought....or at least NOT with the charges they put forth. Where was the coverup of a crime charge?

    July 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Karen

    I hope someone is aware of all of the threats against Casey's life on this thread and investigates. For those who say that they are so against murder, you sure seem like you are a murderer just waiting to happen.I stand by my previous posting. I'd rather have Casey for a neighbor than that unethical, crazy, hate inciting Nancy Grace or her huns.

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

      You are a very sick excuse for a human being!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. chachi

    It disgusts me that our peers (the jurors) let such a monster free. she should have been sentenced to life without parole she does not deserve to have her life taken, Sitting in a cell the rest of her life feeling guilty about what she did would have suited her just fine. So Duct tape magically appeared over Caylee's mouth, and she magically appeared in a bag and thrown somewhere to decompose. What kind of monster could do that. The thought of such a beautiful little girls last moments being so sinister sickens me. I hope that Casey gets her well deserved "Beautiful Life"........what a monster.

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

      I agree totally. There is still a lump in my throat.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Noel

    "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." (William Shakespeare, Henry The Sixth, Part II, Act IV, scene ii)

    July 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jacquie

    Although I feel she had something to do with the death of her daughter the state did not prove to me without a shadow of doubt how this baby died. I would have voted not guilty also with the evidence they put forward. I am sorry for this because there has been no justice for Caylee.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Fletch

    Thank God she was cleared. Now the loser rednecks in middle-Florida still have an option at last-call. You could probably put your hands inside of Casey and clap...

    July 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tom

    The jury's job was NOT to do anything for the child. The jury's job was to decide if Casey Anthony murdered the little girl. They did that.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • sue

      Scott Petersen? Convicted, without even close to the same amount of proof. Lying about everything IS PROOF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Status Cymbal

    If not Casey...then who?

    July 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Caring Heart

    Those 12 jurors should consider hiring Casey as their nanny! Were they that much in a hurry to go home that they let a baby killer get away with murder? I keep hearing we have a great sytem. Are you kidding me! The jurors have just proven the reverse! I hope they can sleep tonight. I know my heart is broken for that precious baby and will lose sleep!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. flygirl44

    Nancy DISgrace lost another one!! She should be off the tv channels, to her everyone is guilty!! What a dumb cow. The Anthony family looks to me to be highly dysfunctional. The mother lied on the stand, the father was not believable, and the son was just confused. There was not enough evidence, it was all heresay, it was overprosecuted, the media had already convicted her over a year ago, because of Nancy Grace. She should shut her big trap. IF Casey Anthony killed that little girl, she will never have a good day as long as she is alive! What goes around, comes around. But for everyone to say she is guilty, when they did not see her do it, is just so wrong. May Caylee rest in peace.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Leslie

    The Postman always Rings Twice!.... Lee, don't let your sister babysit!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Swirley

    Just because she was found not guitly does not mean she is innocent. I am just heartbroken that there was no justice for Caylee. I believe what goes round comes round and one they Casey will have to pay for what she did. The jurors defitnely did not do their job, I guess they just wanted to go home........

    July 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Incorrect, Swirley, the jury most definitely did their job, and I applaud them for bypassing emotion and focusing on the evidence. If you want to blame anyone, blame the state. The state did not have the evidence to prove their case. There were more holes in the evidence than swiss cheese. I was not surprised by the verdict and feel that it was the only verdict they could come up with. Do I feel Casey was involved with her daughter's death? I most certainly do. But my feelings or emotions are not based on the evidence; it's based on how Casey reacted to her daughter's death. Examining the evidence, there is reasonable doubt that a homicide even took place. No, I certainly feel the jury did its job, and even though it would have made me sick to my stomach, I would have came up with the same verdict as this jury.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John Adams Smith

    People remeber this, those of you and most of you who smoke and drink an do drugs and love to party and have so call fun in life, I really hope that none of you find yourself in here shoes, Don't judge anyone becuase it will make you feel down about your self and it does not fix the issue. Everyone lives in one world that it's full of crazy things but it's up to you to choice your path in life, SO that been said, you can't say she killed anyone if you yourself did not see it with your own eyes, stop making this earth get more mad and try to make this earth a better place for everone, you make mastakes and you also make good choices, we are all humans and you all might have kids and you never know when your day could come to live that path, wake up people and stop judge others so that you don't get judge, if someone says something to you that is not true or you get bully around and name calling or get put down you start to feel like crap . So live your life only and don't live other people life in your mind or body, if they found here not gility then let it be, why waste your life and brain on something that is not happening too you. Remember to use your heads and think before you do anything, so that you can wake up every morning and feel good, We don't know what happen behind the scenes and thats all you can go by, if you saw something then why did you not go forward and say something in the court room and mybe you could have been famous too. Stop the fight and the judging, Have a nice day and live your life and let others live there life!!!.....

    July 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ladybird

    The one thing that is missing from all the comments I've read is the mistake the prosecution made – and a big one. If you look at the stats, over the last few years juries are unlikely to render a guilty verdict if it could lead to the death penalty.

    What they should have done is accuse her of manslaughter – and believe me - she would have been found guilty.

    The prosecution in this case, in my personal opinion, were arrogant and completely out of touch with the history on similar cases. Nobady wants to send someone to their death in case they're wrong.

    Too bad.

    So, I guess we keep tuned in to see how far the police investigation goes to find the "true" murderer. Could it have been Dad having fun with Caylee as he did with Casey, then drowned her to hide any DNA that would connect him to the body?

    hummmm....

    July 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eagle

      Good to see someone else who thinks for themselves.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      The charges are not the issue; The evidence was. There were lesser charges on the table, including manslaughter. If the jury thought that the evidence showed a homicide and Casey responsible, they could have come back with a guilty verdict for the lesser charge of manslaughter. That didn't happened because there was reasonable doubt that a homicide even took place. Yea, I agree that the prosecution blew this case, but I disagree as to the reason. Their evidence did not hold water. Casey could be the worst person in the world, but she cannot be convicted of a homicide if their isn't credible evidence that a homicide took place.

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