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. Vee

    This verdict spoilt my day at work. Justice did not prevail. Hope Casey Anthony is truthful herself atleast and is guilty of what she has done. Judge should have overridden the Jury verdict on atleast Child Negligence count. So what is the role of the judge, is it simply to accept what the Jury says.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Gimble

    Once again, we show how stupid we are. No evidence. How could evidence survive after all that time in a swamp. But why not ask, how did the body get into the swamp? Why was it not reported? What would have happened if Casy's mother said nothing? What kind of people do we appoint to our jury's. Is common sense not a criteria? No wonder this jury did not want to address the public, they could not possibly explain there lack of reasoning.
    We do not have a Justice system, we have a Pantomine.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. becky

    stupid girl!! you are guilty and you know it!!!! rot in hell!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Random Thought

    Really in America it's not about black, brown, white, yellow......it's about the color $$$$$$$$$GREEN $$$$$$$$$$$
    If you have enough of that color there's not much you can't get away with....To the whites saying things about the blacks, the blacks saying things about the whites, or any race saying anything negative or stereotypical towards another race, especially the ones who claim they are christan....Didn't we all come from Adam & Eve....so if you wanna trace your ancestry back and claiim superiority remember that. Oh and Jesus wasn't white....just sayin' EVIL comes in many colors and forms....

    July 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Iamrightyouarewrong

    Will you marry me Casey?
    I love you.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Whats next for her?

    Is it reasonable to suggest that someone might just kill her? If "justice" wasn't done in that court room, I could see an extremist taking matters into their own hands... And please people, take the time to fix the typos if you hope for any validity in your argument.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mark Fox

    Most BRILLIANT Jose Baez moment...the contempt of court DURING closing. I am not convinced the defense team ever believed Casey was INNOCENT, nor am I convinced they believe Caylee drowned. (Defence team will ever admit that either,) AND as such, I was NEVER convinced that Jose Baez was outraged at Jeff Ashton...he NEVER lost his composure...most likely Baez purposely bombshelled the courtroom. IT WAS PERFECTLY TIMED. Who knows how long he sat on the Ashton facial expressions card. The first benefit was that everyone forgot Ashton's brilliant presentation. We were SHOCKED away from that! (Baez has HOURS left, so he had no worries about losing his congruety...it even gives excuse to backtrack and review even one more time to get back where he left off,) The second benefit was that everyone would now see Baez as a human being...not a slippery defense lawyer. The drowning defense gets credibility if it looks like SOMEONE could believe it. Third...who cares what the Judge ordered concerning timing for the day...the jury was NOW for sure going to sleep on the defense part of the rebuttle (with no hope of finishing with prosecution's final rebuttle.) WELL PLAYED! Sorry, but even the media fell for this move.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Fox

      BTW...considering the move by the defense during closing arguements...is this country going to reverse the "contempt of court" descision concerning the 28 yo (not so bright) finger guy? Considering how outrageous a stunt was pulled by the lawyers, it's kind of unfair that the spectator gets 6 days in jail and a fine.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mark

    we should be mad about this... dont just sit back and say "well karma will get her" or "well we all know she did it so she'll have a bad life" or "well God will give her judgement"

    none of these things will happen, she will go out and party now, all the time. because she walked in there, admitted having a hand in her own daughter's death, and walked out free. justice will never be served for caylee's death, and its because anthony simply LIED enough to get away with it.

    but dont just think itll be fair in the end and God will judge her. just because you want to think that doesnt mean a thing, SHE STILL WENT FREE AND THERES NOTHING WE CAN DO NOW AHHHHH

    July 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Teresa

    Baby killers always get there in the end. R.I.P Caylee walk with God now and feel the love that you deserve. You will be missed sweet angel this makes me so sick a lil girl is gone and her mother did it and she needs to get hers the same way that she killed her lil girl.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. becky

    ROT ROT ROT!!! YOU ARE GUILTY AND KNOW IT!!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Julie

    Does Casey go into Witness Protection now – ?

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

    Congrats to Jury Job well done

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

      I mean damn, where's Westboro Church at when you actually DO need them?

      July 5, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • alenlakd

      Hey i just found an website which gives away apple ipad can i go for it the website name is freeappleipad2 (dot)co(dot)tv

      July 5, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • lee

      Police made mistakes in the casey interview. I have been there for 25 years. They were going against each other in the room on a couple of comments. (b) There were to many officers in the room, (c) the oldest detective had her going in the right direction but gave up to soon. Sometimes it takes three hours person to person. A confession would have ended it all ! Further, prosecution should have called the meter reader, this hurt them.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grim Reaper.......

      Come Judgement Day, she will be prosecuted and rightfully sent to HELL. I wonder if any of the jurors would let her babysit their kids and/or grandchildren????

      July 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • J

      Did I miss something? Did she or did she not "lose" her daughter to a make belief babysitter? Then a drowning where her Parents were at fault? All those who say this was done right and give the jury credit, are crazy. You are truly ignorant to believe Casey Anthony did not kill her daughter. Nancy did not make my mind up, the evidence did!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. LJ

    There goes to show you, in the STATE OF FLORIDA EVIDENCE, DOES NOT MEAN A THING, IT WHO YOU ARE AND HOW MUCH MONEY YOU HAVE! THE GUILTY WALK FREE AND THE INNOCENCE IS CONVICTED.

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

      that is the dumbest comment i've seen hahahahaha they weren't even rich !!!!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      LJ...you need to look over the evidence. There wasn't even any evidence that a murder occurred.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      This is one of the dumbest comments on here.(A.) There was insufficient evidence. (B) Casey had no money.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Katty

    Am amazed that Casey Anthony has the exact same facial expression as OJ had when verdict was announced..show split images.

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

    95% conviction rate, the defense won a unanimous victory .... get over it.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grim Reaper.......

      Come Judgement Day, she will be prosecuted and rightfully sent to HELL. I wonder if any of the jurors would let her babysit their kids and/or grandchildren???? Child abuser/killer?? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm........

      July 5, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
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