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. Confused

    Since the defense never finished " The Story" What did Casey and her dad do with Caylee after they found her in the pool???? It never happened like that! George knew nothing. The jury believes what??? Someone, a stranger happened to know a litttle girl just drowned in a pool and happen to get her body away from Casey and George and then does something with the body? Oh yeah after taking Caseys car and putting Caylee in trunk and keeping her body for awhile?,PLease!!! Oh yeah and Casey doesn't realize the body is missing after she finds her in the pool and goes to find her? She never said George did anything with Caylee's body did she?

    July 5, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. makesensewouldya

    Hopefully she won't have any more children- that would be scary...

    July 5, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Christy

    OH GOD! Something is terribly wrong with a people that punishes dog fighting, and protests a dead soldiers home coming but looks the other way in the case of a MURDERED two-year old human being thrown out on side of the road like common roadkill. WOW

    July 5, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. vanessa Neptune

    I thought the jury did good job, cause I also thought she wasn't guilty there was never any proof she actualy did any crime but lie since when does a liar becomes a murder. Two there been many mothers who murder their kids and Casey showed way more emotion and remorse. Last but not least Im getting soo tierd of everybody talking bout how it wasn't fair the jury was in the bubble thats bs thats what a fair trial is about fact not what others opinons are just them 12 so it was good thing they were in the bubble and didnt have to listen to nancy grace and all them other bias reporters and ignorent people have to say and went with the facts .. Yes I am aware a child had died but maybe people should put energy finding the truth than crucify some one who plead they not guily and was found not guilty due to lack of eveidence ... Im just saying !!!!!!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Brian

    How are jurist selected? From a pool of registered voters. You know, the same voters who cost Al Gore the 2000 election because they were too stupid to mark their ballots properly. Gotta love Floridians.

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

    The fact that the little girl died does NOT mean the mother automatically killed her. Wow, surprised that SOME posters here can't understand the difference.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ryan

    Lord have mercy.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • PentecostalTexan

      Youre very right Ryan, The Lord will punish Casey Anthony. I hope he has mercy too because if he does not, her fate will be far worse than Caylee's..

      July 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stefani

      It's a puzzle why the Lord did't have mercy on Caylee being that she was too young and small to defend herself! Now the Lord is supposed to have mercy on Casey?

      July 5, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • PentecostalTexan

      Stefani, as a christian we are to have a merciful heart to all, even though our whole being protests having mercy on the likes of Casey Anthony. We as human beings all have the potential for murder, not necessarily to our own children but we still have the potential. God is having mercy on caylee now. im not saying its right, i dont have all the answers, but i know its all in Gods hands

      July 5, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cal sawyer

    caley was missing for a month

    July 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jack Richmond

    I support those 12 folks who performed their public duty the best they could. For all of us who have served on juries – and have seen real-life prosecutorial attempts to harm relatively innocent defendants – I am not surprised by any "unexpected" verdict for a court case that has been sensationalized by the media and exacerbated some rabid members of the public The media needs to stick to reporting the news instead of profiteering by practicing the modern version of yellow journalism.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Lory

    If the Jury think they did a good job, why they refuse to talk and explain to the public why they disregarded all the evidence presented by the Prosecution? Even the Jurors from OJ Simpson talked to the media and try to explain their action. This Jury wants to hide and we have a lot of questions for them...a lot of questions and only they can answer us. Why and how this happen? What is that they did not see. ALL the evidence for them was just nothing? I will need sometime to get over this, this hurts!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MC

    The key phrase here is "REASONABLE DOUBT". There may have been some doubt, but it was not reasonable. Everything pointed to her, and it's UNREASONABLE to think the baby died any other way. Standing there waiting for the verdict to be read is the only time she showed true emotion, when she was afraid for her life. She showed no emotion when her mother, father or brother were falling apart. Just herself. She's a narcissistic sociopath, and she got away with murder, pure and simple. I hope the rest of her pathetic life is hell.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jmm

    Those jurors couldn't have much common sense. So Caylee jumped into a bag,duct taped herself and threw herself into a swamp. You would have to be a total moron not to have convicted Casey Anthony on one of the serious charges.. The fact that she lied about the child beiing kidnapped, drowning in the pool, obviously had no effect on the jury.They better start giving IQ tests to potential jurors. It all pointed to the child's mother.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deb

      I totally agree with you jmm. . where are you from. .obviously not Florida

      July 5, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tom

    For those who thought the verdict was wrong, where was the EVIDENCE. Not spectulative nonsense, I mean REAL PROOF!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • common sense not so common

      We will get the REAL PROOF or REAL EVIDENCE when the murderers will get a little tech savvy and start posting tweetpics of their crimes!! LOL

      July 5, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oh please

      Is there ever REAL proof unless the crime is videotaped, or there is DNA? Come on, this child did not do this to herself, her mother did it. Any fool who has seen the story, the lies to the police, the partying, the duct tape, etc. can see this mother for what she is.....a spoiled, narcissist who has no love for anyone but herself. She threw away her child and went on with her life as if Caylee was a bag of garbage, not her own flesh and blood!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jacob wrigh

    What casey anthony's parents say after the verdict was read. They did not even come to hug there daughter.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deb

      why would they Jacob. .she is a demon seed. .and i think they (her parents) can see that....mark my words down the road. .and not too far. .she'll get hers. . the Floridians however. .should be worried.. she's going to be walking free amongst them. .and their children

      July 5, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Trina

    All I can say is how disappointed I am in the judicial system of the U.S. I think the lawyer easily manipulated the jury, or the jury is not the brightest. What is America becoming, seriously a mother killed her baby, the lady is crazy. Why would she be lying so much, and who can party after a thing like that. No wonder China and other countries are starting to be more better than America. Very disappointed.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deb

      Trina. .I'm also very dissapointed in the judicial system. .but i think I'm more dissapointed with these jurors. .they obviously are people of the dreggs. .meaning "not too intelligent" . .to let an evil, lying, mother like Casey Anthony literally
      murder her two year old. .IS UNFORGIVEABLE. .i'm sure the karma will enhance the jurors as well. .

      July 5, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
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