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. Tom

    Nancy Grace just tweeted that she doesn't think attorney Baez having a party at a bar is appropriate. She claims "I'm not preaching". What a bit-h! She is the most judgmental NUTCASE I have seen in my entire life! Get a life, Nancy!

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

      She's not preaching, she's just being her usual c**t self.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary Wolf

      Right on!

      July 5, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Peter

    How can you live with yourself, Casey, when you look in the mirror???? You KNOW you killed Caylee!!Liar,liar,liar,liar!!! I hope you get yours on earth, and I KNOW you will get yours when God deals with you!!! Baby killer!!! Jesus said for the little children to come to Him. He knew the evil in some mothers' hearts, you have the devil inside of you to kill precious Caylee, your flesh and blood. God doesn't have a place in Heaven for evil mothers like you who kill their sweet, trusting, defenseless children !!! Your own parents and brother know you killed her !!! This is a SAD DAY FOR POOR LITTLE CAYLEE !!!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Big Al

    I hope every individual will send Casey money to help her in the future. We owe it to her since we falsely accused her of killing her daughter. Tonight when I get home, the first thing I will do is write a check for $250. I hope everyone will do this.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • PentecostalTexan

      You are absolutely out of your mind! Sure line the pockets of a murderess.

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

      When someone is convicted of killing Kaylee, I might consider it, Just because she was found not guilty doesn't mean she didn't do anything wrong, it just wasn't proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

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

      Big Al, you have lost YOUR MIND!! i wouldn't give that evil witch a dime!! For what? To party like she has no children to take care of... OH WAIT, SHE DOESN'T!! JUST WHAT SHE WANTED ALL ALONG, THE LYING MONSTER!

      July 5, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • what a joke

      big al, great idea like to join your cause. please give me your address and by the way do u live near a swamp

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

    While I believe the jury arrived at the wrong verdict today, they did make a smart decision by not talking with the media. With emotions running so high right now, nothing they say would calm anyone down and by airing their faces on television may even place themselves in danger. These "talking heads" on CNN are not helping matters any by trying to fan everyones emotions about this issue! What happened to reporters who reported on the news? What we get are figureheads who either want to spend countless hours commenting on the news, trying to make the news, or asking our opinion on the news. Who cares what my opinion is about what happened? Do you?

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

    i dont understand how our nation can let Casey Anthony go free and other ones that are innocent are locked away forever or executed. Our Justice system is corrupt, they all cry, "Let the Murderers walk but throw away lock and key for an innocent individual that we framed ourselves!!"

    July 5, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cat

    What kind of mother goes 31 days without reporting her daughter missing. She out partying, stealing money, shopping and the list go on. The girl is definitely guilty. There were so many lies presented throughout this trial.
    What was this jury thinking? At the very least they could have had a hung jury, so she there could have been a retrial. Let see if this girl is dogged in public opionion like OJ was. This girl is a monster!

    July 5, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mabel

    I am an african 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 held responsible for her two years old child. What kind of precedent is this going to set. 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 till the police that I have no idea this way I would avoid being sent to a year in 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 a life if casey had spoken up earlier about the disappearance of the child. Another question how wasn't casey charged with neglect. Have we lost our morals or something. I'm just upset beyond question, somebody give me answers.

    July 5, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joe

    Unbelievable....so disappointing...I do not believe that Casey will be happy and safe in society...so many people upset with this verdict and so many feel she is guilty!

    July 5, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ryan


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

    It's sickening when the jury finds the defendant too "too famous" "too attractive" "too innocent looking" or they can relate to them in anyway. The verdict always turns out like this. After OJ, I knew not to expect much from this case. I pray karma gets her for what she did and the jury should be ashamed of themselves.

    July 5, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary Wolf

      Disagree. Did you watch the trial? Defense blew the prosecutors away. Courageous jury. True their oath. Our system works. I have 30 thirty years trial experience. 27 murder trials. Saw not guilty on Sunday. Baez was great. Prosecutor was an unprofessional, arrogant twit.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mark Fox

    BRILLIANT defense! Any defense lawyer would find that panel of experts who will argue about new science. That part is not so impressive. Accusing witnesses of seeking fame and money...slightly more impressive but expected. The REAL brilliance to the defense was to portray the whole family as screwwed up, immoral, liars and perverts. IT WORKED! Why is this BRILLIANT? Let's see...Did Casey lie because she was guilty and hiding something? NO!? She lied because she is all messed up from Daddy and Bro? Is Casey lack a conscience by partying? Did Casey tatoo her celebration of a dead daughter? NO!? She is grieving in a messed up way...she is all messed up from Daddy and Bro. Can a child drown in a pool and no one call 911? Can everyone instead make it look like a murder? Can they discard a child like a pet? YES?! This is believeable when everyone is all messed up. Paint the whole family as messed up and we can throw out ANYTHING ANYONE testifies to AND we can explain away events and reactions that make no sense at all simply by saying..."It's not unreasonable...it is because they are all messed up."

    July 5, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. D in SLC

    Did the media make her lie about her child? Did the media make her not report her daughter missing? Did the media make her go out partying while her daughter was missing? NO. She is NO victim. The media dug into the crap she did on her own. Yes everyone is always obsessed when pretty white girls are accused of things like this, but they eat what they are fed. I hope she is NEVER able to show her face anywhere. Whether or not they had evidence she killed her daughter. PERIOD

    July 5, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. petunia

    The Florida jurors are idiots. THat syas it all

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

      OK people im on it. I just requested Casey Anthony as a freind on Facebook. Im gonna hook up with her as soon as she gets out. Take her out, get her drunk. Then im gonna slip her a ruffie, put her in a bag and bury her.wait a month and call the cops and say my girlfreind is missing. Do you think I will get away with it to

      July 5, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      How can you call the jury idiots? Whether or not you THINK (keyword) she did it. It is the burden of the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she committed the crime. There is nothing that PROVES she did it. How would you like someone to give you the death penalty based on what some joe blow and a bag of donuts says? I would say show me the proof. I'm not saying she isn't guilty, but this is the way our justice system works, deal with it.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      P.S. Petunia at least think enough of yourself to capitalize your name (you too Mike) and use spell check and or proof read your comments the next time so you at least look like you have a little bit of a brain and credibility.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justice?

      Maybe now she'll be found guilty of something totally different as OJ was, like unpaid parking tickets. That my friends is the American way.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dennis

    Why is so many people upset with the verdict that was rendered by the jury. This is the justice system that we all live by and the system works for the accused as well as the victim. Yes, i do believe that Casey is not totally innocent, but a jury of her peers seems to have a reasonable doubt. Remember O J Simpson? I thought he was guilty but he got off. Where is he now? In the end, God is the judge of us all.

    July 5, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • True justice

      Thinking that some deity is going to eventually set things right might help you feel better, but it's not true justice - and it's certainly not enough to keep a society functioning properly.

      The juries that I have been on consisted of some of the most ignorant people I've ever met. In fact, in all three cases, I was the only college graduate. Not that it takes college to be intelligent, but it does take a curious mind. This is one part of the system that's broken - it's biased toward getting unintelligent, retired, or jobless people who can't get out of jury duty. Again, not that there's anything wrong with retired or jobless people - but I have definitely wished for some kind of standards of intelligence for jury members.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Renee

    Are there any other charges that the prosecution can pursue against her? Like a wrongful death suit or something like victim families can do?? I find it terrifying that she may be out on the streets by the end of the week and could have another child and that one just "disappears" as well. So sad for Caylee...bless her heart.

    July 5, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
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