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)

    This is another example, in less than one week, how BIASED AND CORRUPTED OUR MEDIA IS... especially CNN!!! There is NO JUSTICE WHEN THE MEDIA PORTRAYS A PERSON AS GUILTY WITHOUT evidence to support it!!! I'm thankful to know this is a LESSON FOR EVERYONE!!! NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER! The jury is removed from everything which would cause a conflict of interest in making their decision. They weighed all of the evidence before them. And they decided there is NO CASE.

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

      In this country, we don't need the media to speak for any of us. We are speaking individually right now!!CASEY ANTHONY MURDERED HER OWN FLESH AND BLOOD AND IS NOW FREE. That is my personal opinion, without any help from anyone.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • violetZ65

      I watched all this trial and evidence and I really didn't think they could convict her of 1st degree (if I was a juror I wouldn't have gone that route), but it's obvious Casey was involved in the death of her child. I did not rely on the media to tell me that. Why the jury didn't convict on a lesser degree which they could have done based on the evidence is beyond me and should be beyond you, too. Don't blame the media for the jury's lack of intelligence on this one.

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

      Reality check.. Do you think it is normal behavior to go clubbing when you supposedly don't know where your child is? Is your top priority getting your boyfriends number. I'm sure you do not have children.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leann

      I can't believe how many morons on here think she is innocent. Who else would want to get rid of the child but the mother? George Anthony had nothing to do with it or Casey would have told on him and his involvement way back.

      I think jurors should have to pass an IQ test before being allowed to serve. It just astonishes me that not one juror thought she was guilty. She is guilty and a psychopath. This case should have not been tried in Florida. She would have been found guilty in any other state. I would love to know how many jurors had criminal records? Who are these idiots? They probably still believe "Zanny" killed her.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jeanette Landeis

    Maybe OJ & Casey can go sit under a tree with a beer and brag to each other about how they got away with murder...SICK!

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

      along with robert blake and many many other's walking around free,men were killing their wives long before OJ was born and still do it's just not on tv.So go have a drink or cry then get back to your own life,in3-6 years another tv trial will be here save some bs for that

      July 5, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sue

    I did not make up my mind by listening to the opinions of anyone. I made up my mind by watching Casey-GUILTY of lying, lying, lying and MURDER!!!!! What do lies mean?

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

      Everybody wants to pull oj out their ass,look up robert blake trial.OJ is'nt the first man to kill a women so-called.White men have been getting away with killing women thousands of years,they just finished stoning and burning women at the stake for being witches not to long ago.Many many murderers walking the street right now!!so everytime there's a trial and it don't go your way go have a drink or cry but please don't pull OJ out your ass,i see this trial has made people stone CRAZY even the tv people are nuts.So what the defense is celebrating they all do it when they win prosecution too.These people need to go home to there own boring life and quit acting like a bunch of rabid dogs.This is what happens when a bunch of talking heads nancy grace,vinny and the rest talk what ever they want and turn out wrong,vinny has lost his mind he's is to be objective and he's on tv foaming at the mouth WOW!! PEOPLE PLEASE!! in 4-9 years it will happen again,another big case we don't agree with,it happens everyday really we just don't see every trial across america relax!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. violetZ65

    Un-f'ing believable. I think 1) the jury was clouded by the hammering of the "beyond a reasonable" doubt statement as it applied to First Degree and the death penalty. 2) Did they not understand that they could convict her to a lesser degree, thus alleviating themselves of the burden of holding someone's life in their hands? Then 3) if information came to light absolving Casey, then she could have appealed. I do not feel like justice was served for little Caylee. This is so very, very wrong.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      "2) Did they not understand that they could convict her to a lesser degree"

      I am quite sure this is incorrect. If you are on the jury for a first degree murder case, you cannot 'reduce the charge' to manslaughter unless you are provided with very explicit directions from the judge. As the verdicts were read in court, the wording of the charges were very clear, and the options were 'guilty' or 'not guilty'. End of story.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mabel

    I am an african american in washington state and I'm very mad about the acquittal of casey anthony. Where is the justice for this child. My question is if a two year old child lives with me and for a month the child was missing and I told nobody about it, I showed no concern I was party about, and my neighbours show concern and call the police. They come and start asking about the 2years old child in my care, my child. I start giving false information from then on till the child was found dead close by with a tape and sticker around the childs mouth. So I ask who is responsible for this child? I'm I responsible? What is this countries definition of parents, care givers and guardians responsibilty to children. Why does the law say that parent are responsible for their children until the age of 18 yet this parent is not being responsible for her two years old child. What kind of precedent is this. How many children have we just condemned to death. Casey anthony is not insane the decision makers are. So if my child is missing, I can until a month and when people start asking about my two years old boy, I can just straight up tell the police that I have no idea this way I would avoid being sent to jail for falsifying information and also obstructing justice, the law or whatever. I'm hella mad because I cannot stop thinking that caliey could had been found if she had spoken up earlier about the disappearance of the child. Another question how wasn't casey charged with neglect. Oh have we lost our morals or something. I'm just upset beyond question, somebody give me answers.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • sue

      You have to believe that answers will come. Believe the police involved are not done. I do.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Wally Wolf

    It's amazing to watch the crowd outside of the courthouse. They are acting like the angry villagers with torches in Frankenstein. I think the jury reached the correct verdict. There was no cause of death and no concrete evidence linking Casey to Caylee's death. The media acted like they wanted Casey to be put to death ASAP no matter what the facts may be. They have been pounding us with a mantra of "Casey is guilty for 3 years." Nancy Grace would talk down anyone the minute they even hinted at using facts and cut them off. I thought a court of law was concerned with the facts, not emotions. This is all a good example of why we need to educate our children properly. It's a bit too late for some of the adults.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • sue

      It's definitely too late for you Wally!

      July 5, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. scott s

    This whole trial has been a joke from the get go.. People die each and everyday. The media is awful. They thrive on bad. Belive me in life no one gets a way with anything... you have to live with yourself.. I am not god and I was not there. So I can't say guilty or not.. I think most people are worst then animals...Godbless all our precious animals out there....Godblesss the people that die each and everyday...

    July 5, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. vanessa

    the men and women of the prosecutors office in the casy anthony case, the police, all investigators, the people who searched ,and anyone who was involved in this case, God Bless You All. the people who have watched this case, need to resist her ability to make any money for this MONSTER. WE know the TRUTH. and she will have to fae her maker in this case. A lie will not get her out of that. I pray that the baby in this caes will rest in peace and will visit her mothers mind each and everyday. I am sure that alot of people feel the same way. I wonder if casy will be welcom in the home of her father? I wonder if her parents will be filing a wronful death suit against their daughter? How can casy celebrate. this just shows that she has no never cared about her baby. if i were casy, i would be going home, wanting to be by myself. she celebrates for herself, not regret for the loss of her baby girl.she will burn for this.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. FRED28

    The system works, the state failed to prove their case. The defense painted a true picture of what happened. George lied on the stand really what if any police officer cries on the stand, notice george and cindy bolted when the verdict was read. Ashton made the jury mad disrecepting baez while he gave his defence, while Jose acted like a pro.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Don R

    This is a joke! How can the jurors live with themselves now?? Casey was the last with Caylee, Caylee goes missing, and Casey plays and never reports her missing for 31 days. Give me a break jurors - your heads are up your ____!!!!!!! The legal system failed horribly. Casey is guilty as one can be.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. HeeCawRoo

    The comments on this page. Some of you people disgust me with your inability to pull your heads out of your own asses and accept when/if you're wrong.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Danielle


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

      Totally agree. A courageous jury. They saw the cause as they should. They followed their oath. Thank God for the jury system.

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

      The media should learn they can't influence the outcome of a case as much as they try. I am speaking ot both the conservative and liberial media. It does increase their ratings and up the cost of advertising for their sponsers, by sensationalizing facts of a particular case. Fair and balanced? I don't think so. Right now an HLN reporter is outside of a resteraunt in Orlando attempting to cause a riot as the Anthony defense team is inside celebrating.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Fox

      I so agree and disagree. Yes...doubt was created...but not REASONABLE doubt. Baez is a great SALESMAN. By cleaver stategy, he got many to accept the UNREASONABLE. Ashton laid out a perfectly reasonable scenareo that incorparated everything. His was the ONLY scenareo that can carry the label REASONABLE. Too many irrational events have to be accepted in order to call the doubt REASONABLE. A pool drowning scenareo was offered. So many irrational events would have to be accepted to even approach reasonable. So many scientists have to be crooked. So many people have to be perverse. So many people have to be liars. So many things have to fall under the category of "...they are just messed up...that is why their actions make no sense." I believe the defense got away with redefining "REASONABLE."

      July 5, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dee

    She will get what is coming to her and I hope I am here to hear about it. She will either be killed or she will get in trouble again. Just like OJ.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rob

    She will be working for Vivid Video in 6 months.

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

      We can only hope...

      July 5, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Eric

    Its sad to see what media coverage can do for a case; this is the prime example of what people like Great Vaughn are capable of. Caysee Anthony, before a panel of her peers (people with children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren), and was found NOT GUILTY because unlike the millions of Americans who are NOT barred from watching media coverage, the jury was bound only to what was presented in court.

    I respect and agree with the verdict; a verdict of guilty was not proven beyond any scope, and as an American citizen, we ALL are innocent until proven guilty. Caylee's killer is still unknown folks, whether Caysee had any knowledge of the killer or not will never be known. What the prosecution FAILED to do was call the correct witnesses to the stand. Why not ask the MEN who entered Caysee's life while Caylee was a part of it? Young men who weren't ready for children and may have had even more motive to rid their lives of a child whose nurturing mother was not what they wanted in a partner.

    The media has caused an unprecedented amount of controversy as it "judiciously" covers these cases. A truly amazing mother and outstanding young woman has been rightfully found not guilty. Judgment will be found for Caylee in due time.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • what a joke

      what a dumb _uck

      July 5, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stan

      One, only 1 legal expert who appeared on CNN or HLN called it right, the rest should be publicly ridiculed with scathing rebukes for concluding to the contrary long before the case went to the jury. To all of the supposed legal experts on CNN and HLN: You Failed!
      Finally a jury with the balls to stand up and say enough with fantasy tools to prosecute citizens as an overly oppressive form of government.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • barbara mccormick

      casey may not be guilty but someone is guilty off putting that baby body in bag in the woods and they shold pay for that its not riight so who got rid of the body thats what we need to know

      July 5, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
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