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. Illigal immigrant who just back to Europe

    Thank God I just back to Europe from that sick country where people Like she can kill a child and then they go FREE and then what is gona happend for 100% She will write a book do a movie or she will be in NeXT "good morning america", "reggis and Kelly" or other tv show for 1 milllion $. Great system. Now I can undersand two things "american dream" and "bella vitta" . Dexter is from Florida so there is still a hope.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Carlos

    HOLD IT!! I just want to remind all of you one thing: " THE FAT LADY HAS NOT FINISHED SINGING." Her greatest aria is yet to be performed. And when she (the fat lady) is finished, Ms. Casey Anthony is going to be screaming her lungs out for " mercy".

    July 5, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      You must be smoking something

      July 5, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lover-of-little-Angles

    If our system is so great........When are we going to punish the killer of Little Kaylee? She was a little Angel left in the hands of a killer. We then pick a jury who is so frightened by the Judges small book of rules that they didn't want to take a chance of the judge getting on their case, that they just by passed on all instructions.

    By the way, great respect for the judge. He just didn't realize that he produced twelve people who were too overwhelmed to come close to looking at the facts out of fear. CASEY KILLED THAT BABY.Either that or Kaylee drove herseld to the swamp and comitted suicide.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      What did you not understand about no DNA on the duct tape, except a lab worker for the state? What did you not understand about no preceptable amount of cloroform? What did you not understand about the remains of Caylee being contaminated by Roy Kronk and possibly moved? What do you not understand about no definite signs of human decomposition in Casey's car trunk? It's easy to get caught up with the emotions of this case, but when you look at the evidence and the state's burden of proof, you will understand why the only verdict this jury and any jury could come up with is not guilty! This jury followed their instructions and did an outstanding job in this case. If you want to blame someone, blame the state for coming to trial with evidence that had more holes in it than swiss cheese!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. costa

    i would love to see Casey in a bikini and high heels she is hot

    July 5, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Casey will probably go out and start partying this Thursday night when she's released from jail.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Robert

    "Tot Mom".... Nancy Grace must be having a cow

    July 5, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. kenson j-b

    The defense team meant business regarding resolving this case and the prosecution attorney...well ...goofing and clowning around. After today he should change his name to "The Laughing Attorney".

    July 5, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kessa

    This case is being compared to the OJ case quite a bit, yet you still have people bringing in race. Correct me if I am wrong... but isn't OJ black? Didn't he get a verdict of Not Guilty? So its not just because she was white, unless you want to start saying OJ was just a really tan white person. That is pretty ignorant of you to say. Also, its pretty crappy of you all to turn this into a "white vs black war" when its really about a woman who is responsible for the death of a CHILD.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. April

    She needs to hire herself a bodyguard.

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

      I'm sure she won't have any problem with anyone guarding that body.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Larry

    I think jurrors sometimes decide cases on the personality of the lawyers. It's not suppose to be that way and
    when a prosector laughs in court .....perhaps the jurors gave him a payback. They are no winners in the case.

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

      and, Larry, sometimes they get it right and decide the case based on the evidence as in this case. It's kind of scarry to see all these comments that would of convicted Casey based on how she acted and how she seemed during the period when Caylee was presumed dead. There was no trauma. There was no proof of child abuse. There was no DNA on the so-called murder weapon, which was the duct tape. What other verdict could this jury consider in this case? In my opinion, they did their job. If you want someone to blame, blame the state for not having strong enough evidence.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. stephanie

    What I want to know is if she gets pregnant again because of this case will they let her keep the child.......i don't think they should just because they didn't have enough evidence doesn't mean she didn't do it.

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

      Stephanie, it doesn't mean that she necessarily did it, either. If she gets pregnant again, it will have no bearing on her keeping her child at all. There are no convictions of any crimes on a child, so Casey most definitely will be able to keep a child if she gets pregnant again.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Eagle

    Is a continual degrading of Casey, by calling her Tot Mom, not an attempt to influence public opinion against her. Sure, media hype is ignored except by those whose lives are empty of excitement and want to believe they have an opinion; not realizing it was formed by a talking head. I too grieve for Caylee as a grandparent, but would not want to add to her death with the false condeming of her mother because of talking heads who simply don't like her. Wake up and look around yourself and think forself and turn the media opinions off. PERIOD.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sara Baldwin

    In the case of Casey Anthony I am completely disgusted by our judicial system! How much more evidence did they need? I'm outraged at this verdict, if Casey did not do it then who did?! My God this is just like another OJ Simpson case, I thought we learned as a judicial system from that huge mistake of acquitting OJ Simpson but I guess not. After viewing this entire trial, I no longer have any faith in our judicial system.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael Hale Sr.

      I am saddened to hear that Casey Anthony was found not guilty of the murder of her daughter. This is our system of justice and if they had reasonable doubt, then they followed the law. The jury was tasked to decide this case and it wasn't tried in the court of public opinion. Now we'll have to see what becomes of all those who suffered and directly affected by this case. Casey will be a rich woman and she won't have to steal and hopefully won't have to kill anyone either.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Amy

    All I have to say is an innocent woman does not wait 30 days to report her daughter missing!! and was she actively looking for her daughter during this time? NO, she was partying with her friends.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. barmon

    Casey was guilty of being kind of dull (ie. stupid) and irresponsible. Also she was unable to confront authority – especially her parents. The defense did a weak job here, but the message was near reality. She was likely responsible for her daughter's death, but not as a murderer. She did get away with a crime or two – but I agree that she was no murderer. She simply was unable to face the medicine of her own negligence and acted like a dumb irresponsible kid – apparently was how she was raised. Because the charge was Murder One, she is correctly found innocent. Her parents share in the blame, and in the death of their grandchild. They are in denial of their own culpability. That's my view.

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

      Although I agree with how you feel as most people would, this is our current justice system and like it or hate it.......it does work.......most of the time.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. han

    Ohh Caylee. This is beyond sad, the system failed this poor girl after death.

    @the race comments

    I agree it this were a Hispanic / Black Mother, the jury would found her guilty, it's sad but true this country has ppl thinking stereotypes of others. It's just how it is.

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