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.


[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."


[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.


[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.


[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."


[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.


[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.


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.


[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.


[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. R. R. Brown

    Congrats to the jury. You just legalized abortion of a two-year old. Kill your child, hide out for a month without reporting the child missing, discard the remains where they will be unnoticed and devoured by creatures, and presto the good life! Remember, "vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord!"

    July 5, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. flavia griswold

    Ok Casey you got a chance to go party again and kill more people around. Caylee's justice has NOT BEEN DONE.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Steve Kolokouris

    I am happy to see justice served for Casey Anthony. A beautiful young woman that had a tragic accident happen to her child was the target of a witch hunt by over zealous prosecutors looking for their 15 minutes of fame.

    It is a shame that with such a weak and lousy case, the State of Florida was allowed to bring first degree murder charges against this woman. There is no more innocent until proven guilty in Amerika.

    I wish the best for Casey.

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

      Is that really how you feel. OMG.
      That poor child, her mother wanted to party and now she is free to do so.
      God will punish her.

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

    Casey did it she commited "The Perfect Murder" and now all psychopathic parents can follow in her foot steps.
    And the "jury" I know what they were deliberating on how ot make "mo' money, mo' money, mo' money.
    If they found her guilty they would have gone back to obscurity but find her "not guilty" and the sensationalism will generate book deals and paid interviews etc. shame on them.
    As for Casey now she and her boyfriend Lazzaro are on the road to fame and fortune. Think of all the rag magazines right now clamoring to get an interview and eventually can a "reality show" be not far behind.
    WE should all shun her and not spend a dime on any magazines that feature Casey Anthony and we should not watch any shows that she's on or listen to what she has to say on "Facebook" that is how we can honor the little girl she murdered "little Caylee" and as Americans prove most of us still have morals but will we???????

    July 5, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. SoCalGal73

    Disgusting. I hope every single one of those people that helped her get away with murder burns in hell (INCLUDING those ignorant jurors and Casey's parents for helping her lie her way out of this)....and I hope Caley haunts them all until their dying day!

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

      I agree with you... and they will pay and be haunted endlessly. what goes around always comes around..

      July 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • me1979

      I love how all of you people speak of hell as if you decide who goes and who doesnt or that you even know it exists. For those of you who think you know more than the jury.....I cannot wait for you to be falsely accused of something and have to deal with a bunch of moronic media figures and even more moronic sheep-like couch prosecutors who listen to everything Nancy Grace tells them and make posts on blogs as if they were directly involved with the investigation or prosecution. I pity you.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      Amen! SoCalGal. I hope they are all haunted by this wrong decision. What a joke our justice system is. I was appalled by the OJ verdict, appalled by the Michael Jackson verdict and now I'm just absolutely in shock that 12 ignorant people are allowed to make this call. According to research done on the jurors, many of them had legal problems. This is what we are putting on juries now. Ignorant, uninformed people who are mad because they got convicted. What a shame and a disgrace that this woman got away with murder because of the ignorance of others. How sad our once great country has come to this.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. PentecostalTexan

    Im absolutely furious!!!! This She-Devil murdered her child and walks away free because the defense put enough drama and lies into their presentation. I have one consolation though and that is that Casey Anthony will someday stand before God and pay for the murder of her child............and O.J. Simpson too while were at it. Im saddened deeply that there was no justice served for the poor slain child. I hope now that Caylee can be sheltered in the arms of Jesus to be raised in heaven.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. pete in LA

    I hope Casey comes to LA. She looks really hot when she gets all tanned and is wearing her miniskirt. I mean she has great legs. I love you Casey. You are a bad girl and I love bad girls, Please come to LA and make my life complete. I don't think you have done anything wrong all these women are jealous of your great body

    July 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • PentecostalTexan

      Youre crazy if you can be swayed by your own lust to think she is innocent.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evey

      If you do get to meet and whatever this "bad girl" as you call her just don't fall asleep you might not wake up................If you murder once you'll do it again.
      I'm sure you make your mother very proud to want to get up with a murderer. Can you dig it?

      July 6, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  8. Gina

    I live in Canada, I've been watching this trial from the beginning, just as I did the OJ trial, and for the second time ,I was completely amazed and stunned, but worst of all I got a big hard lump in my stomach. The prosecters definately did their job, Biaz was green, and Americans can blame who they want to, but the real blame is on the jury, they just let a child killer go free, but not only go free, they allowed her to become a millionaire. I am sickened, poor Caylee, poor poor Caylee.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Someone Actually Intelligent

      you are so very correct

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

      Gina: you are so correct. Thank you for your honest comment.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Someone Actually Intelligent

    All those jurors are going STRAIGHT to hell. Hope they can live with themselves.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • me1979

      Technically they will be dead when in Hell, correct? I believe it to be very unchristian to wish hell upon anybody. Way to emulate your savior Jesus. I find you offensive and I am not even a christian. I am thinkinh you need to change your name.....may put a "not very" in between Actually and Intelligent.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. cg

    AS someone who followed the case very closely like the rest of the country i don't believe that state had a very strong argument when it came to forensics ie no DNA in trunk/no exact cause of death due to boldily decompistion/unrelaible air composition analysis created enough doubts in the juries mind that she wasn't guilty.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Meg

    I cannot believe that justice failed, yet again. I believe in Karma, and can only hope that it comes back to bite her in he a–.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Cathy

    Very disappointed in verdict, they should have at least found her guilty of child neglect. Casey better leave Florida or she will probably end up in a swamp.

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

      Florida? she better leave the US

      July 5, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • FranSays

      Based on the evidence, Casy was overcharged. It was a huge gamble to go all or nothing. It didn't turn out like they planned or we expected.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Really?

    Seriously people, unless you were there, you do not know whether or not she did it, so get off your soapboxes and stop acting like you know EVERYTHING.
    People need to realize that "not guilty" does not equal innocent. In no way did the justice system fail. They gave Casey a fair trial by a jury of her peers, who did their job in analyzing the evidence presented to them, but could not find her guilty beyond a REASONABLE doubt.
    I guess the 2 years Nancy Grace publicy bashed Casey was all for nothing huh? Shame that people are taking everything she is saying as truth, and when things don't go the way they want it, they say the system failed. God forbid somebody admits they are wrong. I have a feeling that just because the trial is over, Ms. Grace will continue to haunt this woman as long as she has nothing else to talk about, which has been the case since her TV show came on the air. People, start to think for yourselves. She isn't a journalist, she is somebody who has an opinion and likes to force people to believe she is always right. A real journalist reports to the people what is going on, not what they think about it.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mikyla

    She is laughing and smiling because she knows she got away with MURDER. I hope someone shanks her at the next 7-11 she walks into. Now THAT would be JUSTICE!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cecilia

    Whether it was by accident or not, Casey killed her daughter. And justice will be done for all of us someday. The big mistake the Prosecution team made was in hoping for 12 people to apply common sense...in a world that has gone mad. Shame on those twelve people.

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