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. 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!!!.....

    Think, before you say anything, it makes you a better person... 🙂

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

      Shut up you uninformed jerk. If you cannot make an intelligent statement. Just SHUT-UP.

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

      What you are saying is truly stupid. If we all did like to go out and party like you say, I am pretty sure we would have a babysitter or family member watch our children. See, that is how it works. You take care of your children before your own needs. If you can't find a sitter, you can't go out. Her child got in the way of the life she wanted. I would love to see the positive in everything and be happy all the time, but that is not how life works. She went to party and had a great time when her daughter was DEAD. She either drowned like she tried to cliamed or she vanished in thin air under her supervision. Either way Caylee was dead when she was having the time of her life. If you are a parent, a loss like this takes several years and destroys people. So naive.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BB

    please stop the madness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. youngs2992

    Thank god she did get a fair trial,even if we think she did it, the proof that she did it was not there.We've had enough people killed this year in the military alone.Death is always the answer for us. Now that the trial is over can we now focus on finding the truth? Who Killed CAYLEE!!!!! Is CAYSEY ready to cooperate with the law so the truth can be found.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grim Reaper.......

      O M G

      July 5, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. felicia

    Completly disappointed... Shes guilty ... Its sad that she can walk free in less then five years. .. Whats america coming to .. Letting a child murder walk ...

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

    Who will hire her? Are you crazy. She will be on every TV show for the next three years, be able to retire off the interest in all the royalties she will get. UNless the Nanny and all her other imaginery friends win their defemation case against her.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ginalee

    Ashton is correct. If police had recovered remains the first time Roy Kronk called in, there may have been more evidence. They did a great job. Nothing to be ashamed of. Jose on the other hand should get hit with some slander charges.
    Where does Casey go? I doubt her family will welcome her home. They'e going to have to put up with more media circus if she comes home. George, Cindy & Lee you were NOT disfunctional as Baez tried to claim. You were any American family. I hope and pray for peace for all of you. You so deserve it.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Carlos

    She better watch her back....Someone will come after her, sooner than later.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bigbangtheory

    Worst prosecution ever...their closing argument was absolutely pathetic and far too profound. You can't speak to a bunch of dumb rednecks like they are lawyers...these prosecutors had to be rookies. How dare the state assign a couple of rookies to such a high profile case.....

    July 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Saddened4Caylee

    Although the outcome was not what was hoped there is still one more judgement to be made and cannot be avoided. The final judgement will be the one that counts. This little girl remains in my prayers as her tiny soul makes the journey to life everlasting. I believe in justice for Caylee but not at my doing ... I leave that up to the creator.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Susan62509

    Casey's own parents knew she was guilty and testified for the prosecution. Jose Baez knows she's guilty also, but he's being paid to keep her off death row or a life sentence. The forensic testimony caused enough confusion for the jury to create the reasonable doubt. If Casey didn't kill her daughter then who had access to Caylee's old clothes and blanket off her bed? Our legal system for jurors needs to change from the all or nothing vote to perhaps a jury of 13 people voting and majority rules. Too many killers are walking our streets.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      I suspect you are right, that there are murderers walking our streets, but I'll bet there are just as many innocent people in our prisons and in our prison cemetaries. Our legal process isn't perfect, but it is as fair as it can be. In this instance, the prosecution failed to prove Casey Anthony guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Pure and simple. And in this case, even if we had a "majority rules" jury, the verdict will have been the same. If you can't prove a murder even occurred, you certainly can't prove that someone is guilty of murder.

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

    Caylee was with Casey, okay, where did she go from there? Only Casey knows, she didn't just disappear into thin air. She is the only one who knows and she should now help find her killer. Look in the mirror Casey!!

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

    Who do these jurors think killed Caylee. But then again it's Florida they don't even know how to vote.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • watchnu66

      They may as we do think Casey killed her or was a part of the cover up of Caylees death, but there was NO REAL evidence of it.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. forensic mom

    Justice was NOT served for Catlee Marie Anthony today but Casey will have to face the ultimate judge one day and reasonable doubt WILL NOT be a factor. Casey will have eternity to pay for what she did to that little angel. Rest in peace Caylee Marie. May God be with you and comfort you George and Cindy.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Diana Welch

    Where is your baby A.H. Are you planning a party for your release? Is your daughter going to be there with you?

    July 5, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Charles Patrick Kilgore

    You stupid simpletons, "The System Worked". Congratulations to the jury. You morons ask yourself what is wrong with this country, it is simple. People like you who make judgements without knowing the facts. A jury of her peers found her not guilty. Live with it, oh yes, there is no GOD you dumb fools.

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

      Charlie you're a very sick man, and the previous comment wasn't meant for you! Thanks to CNN for that screw up. You need mental help!

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

      I found the village idiot!. Who was missing Charles?

      July 5, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      You are an ignorant moron. We do know the evidence stupid. The trial was televised and the evidence is known to everyone who watched the trial. The verdict is wrong! Casey Anthony killed her daughter as the evidence showed. It is only idiots like you who cannot reason out the evidence. Stop telling everyone they don't know the evidence. WE DO!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles Patrick Kilgore's Mother

      Come Judgement Day, she will be prosecuted and rightfully sent to HELL!!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles Patrick Kilgore's Mother

      Come Judgement Day, she will be prosecuted and rightfully sent to HELL where she will burn and burn and burn!!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
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