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. SR

    I guess we will never know what really happened. It is all between God, Casey and the poor baby who died needlessly.

    July 5, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hogan

    As a peer of the world court, I find Casey Anthony guilty as ... Just because these jurors could not see the forest for the trees does not prove that Casey did not kill her child! It just proves what a twisted, perverse sense of justice in this country. Our justice system NEEDS to be redefined! When a women goes free after killing her daughter, in my opinion, just because someone knew EXACTLY how to cover it up and commit the perfect murder, does not make her innocent! When a child dies and no one focuses on her precious loss of life, something is seriously amiss in our hearts and minds. And Baez partying it up just like Casey did after she killed her daughter???? I have five children and if one were dead, I would be in serious mourning, not partying and showing off my body! Living the Good Life. Poor Caylee!

    I also find the mother especially disgraceful, lying for her child when I believe they both knew she could and did do this horrible deed. They slipped out after sentencing, I believe, because they were not celebrating. And what does this acquittal teach our children? If you are smart enough and know how to use a computer you can commit a crime and get away with it???? Many say she was acquitted because she was innocent, but I beg to differ!

    Casey slaughtered her daughter and the her family and everyone around her, but she walks free. I do not care if the jury thought there was not enough evidence. As I stated, as a peer of the world court and as a mother who deeply loves her children, she is guilt on all counts. Our system is a disgrace and hopefully after this, it will be redefined!

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

      What proof beyond a reasonable doubt did the prosecution find? Nothing. They couldn't even determine how this poor child died, let alone who, if anyone, killed her. If your contention is that we should make it easier to convict folks regardless of the evidence, then please, hold your own children very tight, because anyone with little or no evidence could easily take them away from you. Evidence, motive, opportunity. The State proved none of these. Is she truly guilty? Perhaps, but the state didn't prove and she should go free. It's much better to let a guilty soul go free than to committ an innocent one to execution. At least I hope it is, as I hope most would agree.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Whatthe

    THIS VERDICT IS AN OUTRAGE!!!. For Baez to state that Caylee "has passed on" is unbelievable – she was murdered. If Casey is truly not guilty, she will spend every filthy cent that she has/will make on her "STORY" to hire a private investigator to find the true murderer. She should be proud that she had single handedly torn her family apart and I hope they reciprocate by kicking her out of there lives – the accusations she has made against her father/mother/brother are unforgivable. I can't even name one family that I know that is not "dysfunctional" in the eyes of Baez. True carma will catch up with Casey!

    July 5, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. fm321

    I just tuned into to this case: this is a distraction to the looming default!

    July 5, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Josef webster

    Hopefully Nancy Grace and the like are sued for every penny they have for slandering Casey for the last three years. What's even more surprising than the verdict is the media insisting on how "shocking" the verdict was. What is shocking? If you watched the trial, then you also noticed the under handed tactics and outrageous behavior by the prosecution. Free the woman so she can sue the media and go on with her life.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mayra Meredith

    Wow still in shock what I want to know how can the JURY find her GUILTY for lying to law enforcement obviously about little Caylee but turn around and say shes NOT GUILTY! Ok your guilty about lying to what happend to your daughter but not guilty for her murder even though you didnt report her missing for 31 days, going to clubs, every thing a normal person would NOT THINK of doing if their child was missing. Then the recorded conversations that make me sick "surprise surprise" when she is told her daughters body was found. To me all that is beyond a reasonable doubt and she should of been CONVICTED for Caylee's murder. The whole system is disapointing JUSTICE WAS NOT SERVED! I cant imagine what the Anthony's are going thru. She is GUILTY!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Ms. Meredith, you're assuming that she is not innocent beyond a reasonable doubt, but the law presumes that she not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The distiction is critical, especiallu if you cherish your rights and the rights of those you love and care for.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. yo

    So, Nancy is going dancing tonight?

    July 5, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. TJ

    Im glad for Casey im glad the found her not guilty because i never though she did it and i wish i could meet her face to face to tell her because she needs someone on her side because we all know her dad done truned his back on her Casey much love to you i live in indiana whish i could meet u

    July 5, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. t elia

    as frustrating as the verdict was, we have to understand that it was not the jury's job to automatically find casey guilty; it was their job to follow instructions without malice or prejudice which is exactly what they did. they are feeling human beings and could very possibly believe that casey is guilty but they chose to rely on the evidence only. if we must be mad at someone, let's be mad at the prosecution for relying on an emotional jury to win their case. this may not be the last we hear of casey anthony – even after she is released from jail. if she's truly rotten, she's not done yet.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Well, t elia, she certainly can't be tried again. Double-jeopardy and all. Are you suggesting something extra-judicious? If so, that's quite sad.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Cheryl

    Those of you who are angry at how the case has turned out should reflect that by NOT purchasing any of the books that will be written by Casey Anthony, her parents, the defense attorneys... and they will be coming.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Disgusted

    It may not have been proven that Casey murdered Caylee, but its absolutely certain that she showed little concern for her toddler. Its absurd that a jury would not at least find her guilty of aggravated child abuse and/or neglect...31 days to report your 2 year old missing? As a mother, I would have called the police within 5 minutes. Its ridiculous to let her go with a slap on the wrist for false information- how desperate to go home were the jurors? I'm appalled by this decision- it makes me sad that we'll never know what really happened to Caylee. But Casey Anthony will never have her life back- good luck with that one. She's still a liar in the eyes of most people and her day will come.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Gayle Barron

    I was totally shocked when I heard the verdict of this trial. How can the jury do this???? A Mother who never reported the child missing for 31 days and then threw it all to her parents and Brother to blame. She is a liar and she will meet her day sooner or later. (I do pray for that because this is wrong 100%).
    I think the jury was just tired and wanted to go home. Go figure.
    I will never buy a book or see a movie should she decide to capitalize on this. So be it !!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Learn about the system before you comment....

      How could the jury do this? The jury heard all the evidence, you didn't. The jury had the instructions of the judge, you didn't. The jury was required to base its verdict on evidence, not on emotion, opinion, or Nancy Grace. Guess what? They did. The only people to blame here are the prosecutors, who insisted on trying a capital murder case when they did not have sufficient evidence that the victim was murdered, let alone murdered by the defendant. Prosecutors overcharge defendants every day in this country in hopes of getting guilty pleas in weak cases. This time, it bit them. They won't learn their lesson though, they will just blame everyone else instead of looking in the mirror.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert Nolen

      I think the reason she got off is because her dad who is a former cop new how to manipulate the system. Also if they would have found her sooner they would have been able to get more DNA data thay may have proved that the deceased Caylee was George Anthony's DAUGHTER?

      July 5, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sad grandmother

    Justice WAS NOT DONE today!!!!!!!

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

    All I've got to say is that when her book comes out I will shun her like good people in communities have done for centuries. I will never give 10 cents to her in any way. Everyone in the U.S. should do the exact same thing–she should NEVER benefit from the death of that beautiful baby's death–but she certainly will try–and lie like a rug doing it too! I say we should all turn the channel for every interview–I know I will!

    July 5, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • angela

      I agree....the only way to make Casey pay for this injustice is to prevent her from getting rich. Everyone should boycott her book (she is a pathological liar.....why read it?) and boycott any stations with interviews of her. I want to see her face when her book sales are a big, fat zero and the books sit on the shelves untouched. For those who are going to buy it, you really did give her the Beautiful Life....free of her daughter and money to party.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. A mother who really loves her children

    The message that the justice system sent out today was that you can commit cold blooded murder and get away with it. It is ashame that this country has come to this!! May all the people involved in letting this child murderer go free not have peace or tranquility in there lives. I have an idea for Mr. Baez maybe he take the murderer home and employ her as his nanny or babysitter for his kids or grandkids. My heart goes out to George and Cindy, may God give you strength to continue your lives eventhough we all know it will never be the same.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
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