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. Deela

    I CAN'T NOT BELIEVE THE STUPID JURY..ONCE MORE PROVES ME OUR SYSTEM IT"S F UP!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JENNIFER

    THIS IS STRAIGHT UP BS.. SMH..

    July 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Me

    The eveidence didn't seem to add up to murder but she is guilty of being a horrible human being for partying while her daughter was lost/murdered. She's trash...

    July 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • April

      She isnt good enough to be called trash.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Didn't add up? How did it not add up. She made up story after story trying to cover herself, there was eveidence in the trunk of her car, and it didn't add up...... REALLY?

      July 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Nicole Jones

    WOW what is our world comein to when we can kill our kid and get away with it .. kinda scary to live in the usa anymore if you ask me .. I feel sick to my stomach know that..

    July 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Are you really surprised. Everyday over 3000 unborn children are killed by abortion doctors with the women's consent. Change that and you may see justice served in our courts. Wonder how many of the female juriors have had an abortion?

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

    What is this country coming to?! How dumb is the jury wow.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. joeNYC

    There is no justice in the world. I have lost all faith.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tracy

      Isn't that the truth. I am terribly disappointed. Justice for Caylee will never be a reality.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. April Lucas

    And this is supposed to be our Justice System? Some system! A poor child is murdered – her body buried – and her 'mother' goes out partying for 31 days until someone FINALLY confronts her about the child not being seen? Give me a break!! So in this country, children can be MURDERED because parents want to get their lives back?? Is that we are to believe because that's surely what this jury is telling us. As a mother I can say that this such BS!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Carla

    The Jury and Cindy Anthony proved that the life of a child is not worth, that a liar can kill her baby if it gets on the way.
    Shame on the people of Florida.
    The prosecutors. police and everybody that stood for the murder baby, thanks.
    How Cindy and Casey get what they deserve.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tracy

    So being attractive means you can get away with murder. Isn't that fantastic! Casey Anthony is a child killing wh*re.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Marissa

    This is a disgusting and pathetic travesty of justice. She murdered her daughter, tried to pin it on her father, lied to everyone about it, and brought NO EVIDENCE to court about any of it, and she WALKS! Shame.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chris

    What a big sack of you know what. A jury just let a mother get away with killing her own daughter. That says alot for our justice system these days! You can't pray in school, but you can murder your child and wrap her mouth in duct tape! WOW, she got in trouble for lying to the cops!!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Doug Ericson

    This is what you call jury retribution for being locked up for 8 weeks for a 2 day trial. Doug.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kayla

    smh..

    July 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Victor

    She deserves the death penalty. Complete garbage verdict by a group of certified morons.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tracy

      I absolutely agree.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flor

      I totally agree

      July 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. DJCowboy

    Doesn't surprise me, the prosecution didn't prove anything, but Casey would be wise to probably move to a different country because there will be self-righteous people who will be crying for her head

    July 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tracy

      I hope someone kills her.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • April

      God, I hope someone sterilizes this lady! She doesnt need anymore children to murder. So many people wait for so long and go through so much to have children and then there are people like this WENCH that have them, decide they'd rather party and kill them! Don't they know what a precious gift our children are?
      And the jury!! What in the world were they thinking?? Did they watch the same trial the restof the planet did? Do they have selective memory as to the details? Why do they think she sat in the interview and lied her tail off? Because she was innocent? Seriously?!?!?!? You have got to be kidding me! Yep, theat's the first thing I'm going to do if I'm innocent...LIE!!! NOT!!

      July 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • donner

      Yeah...someone will be...would be most worried about Cindy Anthony...acorn doesn't fall far from the tree

      July 5, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
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