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. AMLSurvivor

    I am so stunned that there are so many people out there who cannot accept a decision made (other than their own)and accept it as that. So many have been sucked in by the likes of Nancy Grace and other media moguls. They make money off you idiotic people, so no wonder you get POed when the legal system says otherwise. The prosecution did not do their job to the satisfaction of the jury. Remember the jury does not hear what Nancy has to say everynight saying that Casey was guilty because she went to a party and got a tattoo. Right now Nancy just said that "the Devil was dancing tonight". That is to get you all riled up again, and some of you will buy into it again. Stop and think for yourself for once. If you are over 18, you are considered an adult and able to think on your own so do it.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Guilty before proven innocent isn't a good policy? I agree.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dani

      Yes, Casey was found "Not Guilty" based on reasonable doubt. However, that does not make her innocent of murdering her two year old child. The reasonable doubt angle worked for Casey. Casey may go free on Thursday, but she won't be free in her heart and mind, if she has any maternal instinct in her body. She will be imprisioned by her guilty conscious. Poor Caylee. No justice for that little girl. That's a travesty.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Natalie

    If this is our Legal system? what a shame and pity. I think the people who participate as jurors in cases like this, must have a Legal background and understand what was the Law created for. Ridiculuos, Ridiculuos Ridiculuos, Now she can go and live "La Bella Vita"

    July 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Thisisridiculous

    I do believe in God and I do believe that you should not judge other people by their actions. But how can you have sympathy for Casey when all the facts are right there? How can a "good mother" as the defense described Casey, not report her missing child for 31 DAYS!!! ? This is not a behavior of a good mother...this says "guilty". I dont care who you are or where you're from or what color skin you have: no caring and loving mother would act like this! no matter what has happened in her past! This woman in guilty and everyone knows that. She might not get any sentencing from the jury but God knows and she will have to deal with that when her time comes

    July 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      "I do believe that you should not judge other people by their actions"

      That's actually -exactly- how you should judge someone.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. W

    At 2:25pm Nancy Grace went into cardiac arrest. Lol.

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

    ok the defense's case was accidental drowning and then joint cover up with dad.........ok so where is the charge for gross abuse of a corpse. i mean they are basically admitting to that in the defense......please someone help me understand this..

    July 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. pete in LA

    i would love to party with Casey I bet she knows how to drive a guy wild How can anyone say she is not hot when you see that video of her dancing with another chick. I want to be her slave

    July 5, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Phil

    Justice was served today. The prosecution did not put together a good enough case to convict Casey. If you all don't like that, don't blame Casey, blame the prosecution for failing to prove their case. 12 men and women were convinced enough that the prosecution failed. It wasn't even close. The jury took a single day to see through the weak case the prosecution presented and found the correct answer in their eyes. Good job jurors and defense attorneys.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. steve

    yes-another OJ trial-what is wrong with the common sense of those twelve jurors-i hope all of them see poor little caycee in their sleep forever

    July 5, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Callie58

    I knew she was innocent too - It was obvious she knew more than she was saying, but it was also obvious there was absolutely no evidence, and much more would exist if murder truly occurred. Thank goodness for a sane jury that actually read the forensic reports and testimony and made sure justice was delivered instead of buying into lies and media hype like the ignorant blood-thirsty lynch mob.

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

      She was not judged to be 'innocent'; she was judged to be 'not guilty' (beyond a reasonable doubt). There is a world of difference!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jigga

    Good for you Casey congrats

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

    SHOCKING! I agree with others, Casey got away with murder just like OJ did! There was just too much pointing to Casey and with her not reporting Caylee missing for 30 days is enough for this mother. What mother would just go about her life, partying, for 30 days and never mention to anyone that Caylee was missing? How can she be guilty of lying to investigators and not be guilty of murder? Not reporting a child missing for 30 days is not a form of child abuse? If Casey did not kill Caylee then who did? The jury took the easy quick and way out and by not even talking about the verdict after says a LOT! Aren't they American enough to face the wrath of their poor decision? Justice was NOT done again, how disappointing!

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

    No one will hire her, can't live with her parents...what's she to do?

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

      She doesn't nee d to worry...she will be a rich woman....book deals, movies.....just pray that she doesnn't have another baby!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • alice

      Don't worry – when she goes back to general population, if Big Betty and the Girls don't get her - remember, Mommy and Daddy will have to watch their backs - remember she looked up online how to break necks with a shovel – leopards don't change their spots – – she'll do herself in!

      July 5, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bill

    I think the Prosecution, Defence, Jury, and Judge all did their jobs. The evidence just did not support murder, manslaughter, or child abuse within a reasonable doubt. If it was all an accident, I hope Casey and all her family members learned something valueable and move on to improve their relationships. I also hope law enforcement, the prosecution, and defence personnel all learned something more constructive. A lot of folks need to work on their people skills, when taking statements and how they take them. I think they had a scared to death person here who felt guilty of what happened even if it was an accident and had to cover it up.

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

    No justice for that precious baby girl!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tom

    Personality may have hurt the prosecutors but the MAIN thing that hurt them was lack of evidence. To even charge her with 1st degree murder was ridiculous to be kind. You need evidence for the highest grade of murder charge.

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