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. Caylee deserved better

    It is pathetic to me that anyone would find this about race. The word heartless and moron comes to mind. Why is it that only a racist sees everythign as racist?
    This woman killed her daighter and beat the system. That is what this is about. Grow up.

    July 5, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pearlb

      Im White .BUT if a black woman would be in Caseys shoes the system would already be looking for a fat vein to stick the needle in.Young white and pretty thats what it is

      July 5, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      I think that's absurd. If a black woman was in the same shoes with the same scenario, I believe the verdict would be the same. The jury was not only composed of one race; their were other races that represented this jury. The evidence, people, the evidence. It wasn't strong enough.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ernie

    I thought about something disturbing, then read some else here had the same thought........ I also would not be surprised if there was a murder-suicide. I wouldn't blame him though after what she has said about her family and allegations she made...... all on top of murdering a beautiful child.

    July 5, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. estelle79

    Too much time spent on Casey's lousy character. Very little presented DNA with a direct link to Casey alone. The evidence in the trunk is there but it doesn't only indict Casey. Parents confused everything. Woman who said she had affair with father, and he said bad accident had Nothing to gain by lying. She didn't get 15 min of fame. IF family supported Casey why leave after verdict w/out connecting with her.

    July 5, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. SammyPine

    The prosecution did not have the evidence to convict her of 1st degree murder. They never proved there was a murder. This wasn't about money. She has no money. The state paid for her representation. Personally, I think she is a real bad person and that she was a horable mother and just a spoiled ignorant brat that is nothing more than a liar. However, the jury did the right thing in not convicting her of 1st degree murder. I would think that there was evidence of agravated child abuse and possibly ManSlaughteror 3rd degree murder. However, we can not prove how that child died. Chances are she did not wake up on day and say I am going to kill my child and go out and do that. She was probably being a horrible mother and person like she is and through her neglect and disregard, the child died. We will never know. She didn't report it because she was drunk, on drugs, or clearly an unfit mother and she knew there would be consequences. She is able to justify this because in her mind it was an accident. Her day will come when she has to face her maker. However, I truly believe that our justice system worked today. This wasn't about if you liked or disliked her, the media hype, or emotions. This was about the evidence that was presented and there was not enough evidence to convict her of 1st degree murder. She is a horrable person, mother, daughter, sister, and a pathalogical liar but that does not make her guilty of 1st degree murder. As much as I dislike her I applaud this jury for deciding this case on the evidence at hand. It would be real easy to let your emotions and personal fealings impact your decision.

    July 5, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • dion

      amen, you said what i wanted to say, however one thing that people do not understand and thats reasonable doubt and there was just too much in this case. people get too caught up in emotion instead of following the law. if there ass was on trial they would want the jury to follow the law.

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

      Thank goodness, someone else who gets it. They couldn't convict on aggravated child abuse because there wasn't any signs of trauma to the body, not even old injuries. Really, the only evidence of homicide was the duct tape and the way Casey acted the 31 days when Caylee was presumingly dead. Throw out the duct tape and you have no murder weapon. Without a weapon, you don't have a homicide. Without evidence of verbal or physical proof, you don't have aggravated child abuse or child abuse. Anyway you cut it you can't find Casey guilty if you abide by the law. I bet this jury felt in their gut that Casey was guilty, but they had no choice; they had to find her not guilty based on the evidence. That is why you and I feel this jury did an outstanding job.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mandi

    For all of you who think she was innocent and NANCY GRACE is the one who wrongly convicted her, then I have a few questions for you.
    1) Why did her car smell like a dead body?
    2) Why did she not let anyone know her child was missing for 31 days.
    3) If it was an accident, why did she lie, try to cover it up and party for 31 days.
    4) Her mom lied it was proven, so who did the searches?
    5)Why did she lie?
    6)Why did she lie?
    7)Why did she lie?

    oh and one more

    8)Why did she lie?

    July 5, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      It could of smelled like that because of garbage.
      She did report the child was missing. That was the lie. The question would be... why did she report the child missing when the child was presumingly dead? It could be that she felt responsible for the death or was told to say that.
      She lied because that how she was brought up, to lie. Look at George and Cindy, her parents.
      The most reliable program had chlorform searched only once, and that was logically explained by Baez saying that is was curiosity because of a photo her boyfriend put up on My Space.
      Add lack of DNA on the duct tape, and you have nothing, no homicide.
      Reasonable doubt, my friend, reasonable doubt.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |


    July 5, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. estelle79

    also, many cases have had bodies far more decomposed than a month and been able to get plenty of evidence of cause and manner of death. Juries know that; huge mistake to underestimate juries.

    July 5, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. eastcoast

    Common sense is not common anymore. "Beyond a reasonable doubt," does not mean beyond all shadow of a doubt. Florida must have a pathetic public education system if this is the best we can expect. Election fraud, insurance fraud, legal fraud. The jury wont speak because I bet they are holding out for a book or interview deal.

    July 5, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      If you have no DNA of the victim on the duct tape, that is reasonable doubt that it is not the murder weapon. Without a weapon, you do not have a homicide. Don't blame the school system; the jury got it right.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ricardo

    I have been researching the justice system in America and this verdict is part of what we have come to depend on. The jury had reasonable doubt. In fact most of america doesn't buy the prosecutors version of what happened in its entirety. I thinks Jeff Ashton's actions late in the case was the catalyst that something was not right. His bullying of the experts and snide comments offended the jurors and many of us watching. His comment of we hope you find her guilty and his obvious laughing was a mockery of the very system that employs him. But when his counterpart gave such a eloquent follow-up she made a critical mistake suggesting that the jurors use their common sense which is what they actually did.

    Why is it in America when the jury renders a verdict that we agree with then they have done their job. But when it differs then the system is flawed. THERE WAS NOT ANY DNA evidence anywhere connecting the dots. And the is the very definition of using the theory of reasonable doubt. You cannot sentence anyone to death when there is not a connection other than an emotional appeal.

    July 5, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • JeramieH

      > In fact most of america doesn't buy the prosecutors version of what happened in its entirety


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

      WOW! Are you kidding NO DNA, so NOT Guilty.
      How did we convict prior to the scientic DNA???
      Casey killed her daughter, threw her in the woods to rot, No DNA, so she is not guilty!!!
      Decompose smell in HER car, She NEVER told police her daughter is missing, the rare tape from HER house,
      Lies to her mother after Caylee was dead of where she is, no nanny, TIMER 55
      You are Delusional!!!

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

      Gee, sickening, if I have my facts right, they falsely convicted persons of crimes who were later exonerated because of DNA. No credible evidence that a homicide even took place, so there isn't any homicide. Sure in our gut we might feel she killed her daughter, but there is no proof of that.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. RIch

    Am I correct in assuming that there will now be a renewed, massive search for the real killer? How can the Anthony family have "closure" if the killer is still on the loose?

    July 5, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Shan

    To Nancy Grace – I seriously think there will be a special place in hell for you, dear. I hope you wake up and see what a mean, horrible person you are so you can make amends before you're sent there. And please, one of these times you start a witch hunt, admit you were wrong when your prey is found innocent? That might actually work on your favor. Instead of making a mockery of our legal system with your hubris.

    I am not sure why anyone is still listening to Nancy Grace. Seriously. She is exactly like the National Enquirer. She is a joke. She is sensationalist journalism to a degree that should be criminal. She ruins people's lives, and just pray all you NG followers, that you are never on the other end of her agenda.

    July 5, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Bear

      Amen to that. Listening to her show, it was an open and shut case. Watching the trial we learned that many of the things she presented as facts were nothing more than lies and speculation. I call that fraud and believe that she should be held accountable. What she did was a disservice to everyone including the prosecution, horribly disrepectfull to Caley. (Calling Casey 'Tot mom' is the same as calling Caley 'Tot'.) and in the end was only done to further advance her career. I hope you get what you deserve, Nancy

      July 5, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. CLB

    Well I certainly hope that the state IS NOT responsible to protect her when she is released!!!!! Let her walk out the front door into a life where she will always have to watch her back!!!!! This jury was in a hurry to send one of them on a cruise to London on Thursday...of course they wanted out of there and this was the easiest and fasted way to do that. Shame on them for not serving justice for little Caylee! May they sleep all sleep well tonight!

    July 5, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nisroc

      You are probably more dangerous to society than Casey is. She was found innocent, and you are threatening her life. Think about it, think outside the box, is it possible there is a theory that has not been tested nor displayed in court that proves Casey is 100% innocent?

      You just threatened her life why should society treat you any different than they are Casey right now? I do not see a reason at all.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jynx0854

      Very sad day. I will boycott anything that pays Casey, or her defense team or jury, books, interviews etc!! Caylee I'm sorry our system failed you. I can't believe these people who allow her to not call the police for 31 days and not be with all the evidence found not guilty!

      July 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • CLB

      @NOSRIC – I'm not threatening anyone – how dare you .....everyone knows she did this... do you really believe she won't be harrassed? This entire family has been hounded for 3 years! I believe the jury did not take the necessary time in this important matter.

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

      I'm not threatening anyone ..... do you really believe she won't be harrassed? This entire family has been hounded for 3 years! I believe the jury did not take the necessary time in this important matter.

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

      Jose was quick to ask many people if they were making money from testifying in this case. This was a high profile case before he took it and I believe that he wanted to cash in himself. He fancies himself the new Johnny Cochran. If they truly believe her to be innocent, I hope that the future will show Jose and Cheney that they got sucked in by the devil named Casey. I also hope that the public will not contribute to anything that provides income to Casey Anthony. Anyone who would throw their child out like garbage does not deserve to profit from it. Even the family pets got better treatment in death. At least the pets were buried. I hope Casey moves in with Jose or Cheney and destroys their families just like she did her own and steals from them just like she did from her grandparents, parents and friends. This verdict is a travesty and the jury just couldn't be bothered to look at the facts presented to them. They were ready to go on vacation. I hope they too at some point in the future see their mistake. The system needs to do something to better define "reasonable doubt." Judge Perry, please follow through on the promise to place sanctions on Jose for his conduct during this trial.

      July 5, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jester & jackal

    Well from what I heard of the case, since I found it quite stupid that the media gave it so much attention, there was no body or murder weapon. Just speculation based on what was found. I don't care if she did it or not but to have the media sink its teeth in like it did not only is a disservice to its viewer/readers, it distract us from the real issues we should be concerned about. As to those saying she did it, do you have proof that you failed to handover to the police or are you just part of the mob mentality. And why should she get death for a two year old while pedophiles who do so much more damage just get to sit in a cell and wait til they finish their sentence. This whole story should have been a sidenote in the media. Or maybe we just like to see people burn while sitting on the sidelines. Remember even if she did it how does it affect your life? How does it hurt you? Did you lose a job because of it? Did your retirement vanish because of it? But perhaps the most important question is, with all the pain, suffering, violence, death and lies around the world, why do you care for this and not those other things?

    July 5, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Pheiress

    OJ Anthony?

    July 5, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ace

    Guilty or NOT This girls got some major mental problems. Any ones child is missing does not go out partying all the time. If nothing else lock her up in a mental hospital.

    July 5, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
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