July 5th, 2011
07:55 PM ET

Jury's verdict: Casey Anthony not guilty of murder

Editor's note: For more on the jury's finding that Casey Anthony is not guilty in daughter Caylee's death read our full story here.

[Updated at 8:20 p.m.] From the moment word came that Casey Anthony was acquitted of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, online networking sites were flooded with a cascade of amateur commentary. A few big names, including Kim Kardashian, joined the fray. Most condemned the verdict - "no justice for Caylee" was a common comment - which comes after years of the case serving as fodder for cable news, tabloids and the like.

[Updated at 7:55 p.m.] Mourners of Caylee Anthony want you to turn your porch lights on tonight in honor of the slain 2-year-old.

The Facebook event, "Porch lights on for Caylee Marie Anthony," urges people "all over the world" to start participating at "9 pm in your own time zone."

Already, 546,610 have said they're attending, and some say their lights are already on.

ALTERNATE JUROR SPEAKS

[Updated at 7:20 p.m.] Alternate juror Russell Huekler said he agrees with the jury's verdict "wholeheartedly" and surmised that Caylee Anthony's death was a "horrific accident" gone awry.

"The prosecution did not prove their case," said Huekler, who sat through the entire case but did not get to deliberate the charges.

Prosecutors failed to answer the question of how Caylee died, he said.

From the testimony, Huekler said he drew the conclusion that "it was probably a horrific accident" that Anthony and her father, George Anthony, covered up.

"Unfortunately it did snowball and got away from them," Huekler said. "It was such a horrific accident that they didn't know how to deal with it. The family appeared to be very dysufintional and instead of admitting there was an accident, they chose to hide it, for whatever reason."

CASEY ANTHONY'S FAMILY

[Updated at 5:08 p.m.] Attorney Mark Lippman issued a statement on behalf of Lee, George and Cindy Anthony:

While the family may never know what has happened to Caylee Marie Anthony, they now have closure for this chapter of their life. They will now begin the long process of rebuilding their lives.

Despite the baseless defense chosen by Casey Anthony, the family believes that the Jury made a fair decision based on the evidence presented, the testimony presented, the scientific information presented and the rules that were given to them by the Honorable Judge Perry to guide them.

The family hopes that they will be given the time by the media to reflect on this verdict and decide the best way to move forward privately.

The family also wanted the public to know that if anyone wanted to honor Caylee by leaving stuffed animals or other toys at any area near their home, that they would prefer those items be donated in Caylee’ s name to families in need, religious centers, or any other entity where the toys would be appreciated.

ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

[Updated at 4:10 p.m.] Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings issues a plea for restraint after Casey Anthony is acquitted of murder.

"As the verdict has been rendered we ask our community to respect the decision the jury and court have made today. We ask for your continued peaceful acknowledgement of that verdict.

THE PROSECUTION SPEAKS

[Updated at 3:47 p.m.] The delay in recovering Caylee Anthony's remains worked to the "considerable disadvantage" to the prosecution's efforts to prove Casey Anthony's guilt, Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Lawson Lamar said.

With no "smoking gun" and a victim who was "reduced by time and the elements to skeletal remains," made the case all the more the more difficult to prove, he said. Nonetheless, he said, police and prosecutors did their job - and so did the jury.

"I never, ever criticize a jury; theirs is a task of deciding what to believe," he said. "We're disappointed with the verdict today and surprised because we know the facts and we put in absolutely every single piece of evidence that existed."

He said his staff would return to the task of addressing the 101,00 cases that come to his office each year, including a handful of open child murder cases.

"Child murders, regrettably and terribly, are not rare in America today and those deaths are no less horrible," he said. "The only difference is the news has not highlighted their murders."

He also praised his staff for not talking about the case outside of the courtroom, saying the rush to convict Casey Anthony in the news "led to the great expense" of having to seek a jury "outside the media market."

"So much of the angst and taxpayer expense could've been avoided if others had not succumbed to the temptation provided by quick notoriety," Lawson said.

"For us the case has never been about the defendant in particular. It has always been about seeking justice for Caylee and speaking on her behalf."

THE JURY

[Updated at 3:14 p.m.] Members of the jury in the Casey Anthony case have said they are not interested in speaking with members about the case or the verdict, a court spokeswoman said.

[Updated at 3:10 p.m.] We are waiting on an expected news conference from the jurors in the Casey Anthony trial.

A room has been set up for them to address the media, but none are required to actually say anything if they do not want to.

THE DEFENSE SPEAKS

[Updated at 2:50 p.m.] Defense Attorney Jose Baez said he had mixed emotions about the case and that he had to work hard against media bias that existed during the search for Caylee and the case against Casey Anthony.

"You cannot convict someone until they have their day in court," he said.

Baez said he was happy for Casey Anthony and the decision made by the jury. Now he hopes Casey Anthony can move on.

"I want her to grieve and to grow and somehow get her life back together," he said.

Baez said the case was a true example of a jury doing what they are supposed to - finding their verdict based on evidence and not emotion.

"We have the greatest constitution in the world and if the media and other members of the public don’t respect it, it will become meaningless," he said. "And today and yesterday on the Fourth of July,  there was a breath of life."

Baez said he is thrilled that when he goes home today and his daughter asks what he did today he can say - "I saved a life."

"I think this case is a perfect example for why the death penalty does not work... " Baez added. "Murder is not right no matter who does it."

[Updated at 2:45 p.m.] Dorothy Clay Sims speaking first for the defense team addressed the media.

"I am thankful for today's verdict on behalf of Casey Anthony," she said.

Defense Attorney Cheney Mason also addressed the media, angrily scolding them for their coverage of the case.

"I hope that this is a lesson to those who have indulged in media assassination for three years," he said.

Defense Attorney Jose Baez added that "while we're happy for Casey there are no winners in this case."

"Caylee has passed on far, far too soon, and what my driving force has been for the past three years is to make sure there has been justice for Caylee and Casey," he said. "Casey did not murder Caylee, it's that simple. And today our system of justice has not dishonored her memory by a false conviction."

[Updated at 2:34 p.m.] A room is being prepared for the jury to take questions from the media about their verdict.

THE REACTION

iReport: What's your reaction to the verdict

[Updated at 2:31 p.m.] For the first time a wide smile came across Casey Anthony's face. She began to smile and laugh as her team surrounded her and congratulated her on being found not guilty of murdering her daughter.

[Updated at 2:29 p.m.] Casey Anthony took tissues from a court bailiff and wiped her face at the back of the courtroom.

[Updated at 2:26 p.m.] Casey Anthony embraced her attorney Jose Baez and the rest of her legal team before sobbing.

Anthony wiped tears from her eyes as her team of lawyers hugged each other.

[Updated at 2:24 p.m.] Casey Anthony wiped tears from her eyes and clutched her attorneys' hands as the judge addressed the courtroom.

[Updated at 2:23 p.m.] Casey Anthony returned to the courtroom after briefly leaving with a slight smile on her face.

The judge set sentencing for Thursday at 9 a.m.

[Updated at 2:22 p.m.] Casey Anthony has left the courtroom. Her parents also quickly left the courtroom after the verdict was read.

[Updated at 2:22 p.m.] Judge Belvin Perry confirms the jury's verdict.

[Updated at 2:20 p.m.] Casey Anthony cried as she hugged her defense attorney Jose Baez before she approached a podium to be addressed by the judge.

THE VERDICT

[Updated at 2:20 p.m.] A poll of the jurors showed they all agreed on the verdict for every count.

[Updated at 2:20 p.m.] Casey Anthony has been found guilty of four counts of providing false information to law enforcement in the case of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, who was slain in 2008.

[Updated at 2:19 p.m.] Casey Anthony is sobbing in court as the verdict is being read.

[Updated at 2:17 p.m.]  Casey Anthony has been found not guilty of first-degree murder in the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. She was also found not guilty of aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter.

[Updated at 2:16 p.m.] Judge Belvin Perry is reading over the verdict form filled out by the jury.

[Updated at 2:15 p.m.] The jury has entered the courtroom.

[Updated at 2:15 p.m.] Members inside the courtroom have stood up as Judge Belvin Perry prepares to bring in the jury.

[Updated at 2:11 p.m.] George Anthony is sitting with his eyes closed and his hands clasped next to his wife Cindy inside the courtroom as they await to hear their daughter's fate.

[Updated at 2:04 p.m.] Casey Anthony, flanked by her lawyers, is sitting silently, biting her lip and taking deep breaths as she awaits the jury's verdict.

[Updated at 2:02 p.m.] Casey Anthony has just entered the courtroom and was met by two of her lawyers. She is wearing a pink ruffled shirt, her hair was pulled back in a ponytail and she was biting her nails.

[Updated at 1:57 p.m.] Jose Baez, one of Casey Anthony's lawyers, has just arrived at the courthouse in Orlando, Florida, In Session reports.

THE DELIBERATION

[Updated at 1:52 p.m.] The jury deliberated for 10 hours, 40 minutes and 33 seconds before reaching a verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, which included 33 days of testimony and two days of closing arguments, according to CNN sister network HLN.

[Updated at 1:45 p.m.] The jury has reached a verdict in the Casey Anthony capital murder trial, according to staff at the Orange County, Florida, courthouse.

The verdict, reached by the seven-woman, five-man jury, will cap a trial that stretched to more than six weeks and featured allegations of sexual abuse, questions regarding Casey Anthony's competence and various theories on what happened to 2-year-old Caylee.

The verdict is scheduled to be read at 2:15 p.m ET.

Casey Anthony, 25, was charged with seven counts - first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and four counts of providing false information to a law-enforcement officer in Caylee's 2008 disappearance and death.

Read what each charge means

Watch Nancy Grace Monday through Sunday starting at 8 p.m. ET on HLN. For the latest from Nancy Grace click here.

soundoff (7,331 Responses)
  1. Shocked

    I can not believe it!! The judge said that he would not release the names of the jurors and that the jurors did not want to give any statements..WHY NOT?? If you are so proud of your decision then you should have no problem showing your faces!! I can't believe she didn't even get a guilty verdict for child abuse. I wouldn't even let my dog go missing for 31 days without reporting or looking for him. I hope when the jurors lay their heads down at night to go to sleep and close their eyes, they see little Caylees face, laying in the trunk of the car. If they have children or grandchildren I hope nothing
    ever happens to them. Maybe they would like Casey to babysit for them. What a disgrace!

    July 5, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. CNN GET OVER IT

    For 3 yrs. CNN has convicted Casey Anthony (and in the past others) now that she's acquitted by a jury in a court of law and CNN doesn't agree with the verdict they are going to keep 'beating to death Caylee Anthony' STOP ALREADY!!! Enough let this little girl REST IN PEACE!!!! The trial is done, over. Nobody is going to watch CNN if that's all you're going to do! Get a life.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • PhilC

      @CNN GET OVER IT.
      Now that this case is over CNN rating will go back to its place at the bottom.
      hmm seeing how Nancy grace has been rambling they may sink lower.
      Hopefully she gets fired

      July 5, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barbara

      I agree enough is enough – did you notice they didnt show pics of Casey and Caylee enjoying each other – there was so much lying done by her parents mostly her father – just not enough evidence – Her dad said it was an accident that went out of control – well then explain that!! the defense put so many holes in the prosecution's case they just couldnt come up with guilty !

      July 5, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Monica from California

    @Lee Look you fool, I am NOT boo hooing for this chick. I WOULD HAVE CONVICTED HER ASS. I am telling you and WHOEVER else the 'not guilty' is not going to simply be a 'not guilty' for her. The public HATES her and rightly so. I was just saying ppl shouldn't be that upset because SHE WILL BE GUILTY IN THE EYES OF THE PUBLIC. Now put that in your pipe and smoke it!

    July 5, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Aundrae Anderson

    Do I think she did it,.YES! But our justice system let her go so it's democracy in action. If she did do it, there is one bring she couldnt have his from and God will hold her accountable when he deems and it's nine of our concern how he deals with her.

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

    she is not guilty, She was found not guilty. Someone else was involve !!!!!!!! guessss.I agree total with the Jurors.

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

    I can NOT believe they acquitted her. What were those jurors thinking! There is no justice for Caylee and none for the rest of us either. She got away with murdering her child. Nothing good will come of her life, what goes around comes around in the end.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Erin

    To everyone who learned how to get away with murder today, just remember to make sure your victim will fit inside of your laundry bag! I"m sorry but I am disgusted with the message that this jury put out to all the 22 yr olds in this country.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jason

    NOT GUILTY! She didn't do it. Duh! Florida is an amazing state and in 2008 Florida banned gay marriage because it is tyranny so the people of FL know the truth. She is innocent. FL is smart!

    July 5, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • mason

      there wasnt enough evidence! this case has nothing to do with gay marriage, where does that play a role in this? i think florida will never just like most states allow gay marriage just like killing a child its unacceptable!

      July 5, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JohnQ

    If an UGLY lady would have killed her UGLY kid during this trial everyone would still be talking about this trial. I'm not commenting on whether or not I think Casey killed Caylee, but the media that this trial received is a tribute to how hypocritical our country is. I don't hear anyone crying for "JUSTICE" for the thousands of kids who are murdered everyday around the world. If people would mind their own business maybe a young mother may have been convicted of murder silently in a courtroom in Orlando today.

    P.S. Nancy Grace needs to get a life. If she believes in the justice system that she talks about non-stop, then maybe she should let it operate in the way that it has for years: Person commits crime, person is tried for crime (assumed innocent). Media is not a part of it. Do us all a favor, Nancy, and go away.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. courtneylove

    honestly im not surprised, considering that there was little concrete evidence suggesting further than reasonable doubt, we dont even know what was the cause of death of cayle, there was no evidence of chlorophorm and the hair found in the trunk could've been from number of senerios. i think casey had something to do with this murder but thats all we got as that we "think" no justice has been served for this precious little girl, and surley casey knows what happened to her and will be judged rightfully by god, but theres nothing we can do now.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. chris mcmaster

    she is innocent, i've been saying it for years, we should thank the jurors for their hard work, i am sure it was a tiresome case to work on...

    July 5, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. akdl

    Wonder if she is in protective custody tonight? This might insight the inmates. Wouldn't that be a kicker!!! Get off of a murder charge to have something happen in jail.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joyce

      I fully believe Casey Anthony killed her child, might have been an accident with an overdose of chloroform, but she still killed her child. Now that she has gotten away with it, I am waiting for ALL of the media to trip over themselves to make her a multi-millionaire to have her tell HER STORY. And the media probably has already started. This country has so many fabulous qualities but shame on all of us. For buying the magazines, watching the programs and dying for the next tidbit to be disclosed. We are going down the tubes, God is up there just shaking his head. We are so worried we might hurt someone's feelings. How about that beautiful child Caylee? Dead. By her mother's hand.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tammy

      I have one question now that Casey has been found NOT GUILTY. Will Casey spend the REST Of HER LIFE looking for the REAL KILLER if in fact SHE IS NOT THE REAL KILLER of Caylee Anthony?

      July 5, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mother1982Lori

    cant belive it how can they come up with nothin first her lawer said in opening state ments she new that her daughter died was there so you would think agravated murder and child abuss child abuss was very clear she never cried for her child no emotions at all when caylee was concered if they remember she got mad in jail for the fact every one was worried only for caylee.she will never spend time for the death of caylee in side prison but she in some sence will what life will she have out side she lost her family friends no one will really take her in i wouldnt if she was my daughter and she tried to thow me and her dad brother under the bus no way would i as her mom want to haveany thing to do with her

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

      Do you even know what child abuse is? It's physical or mental harm on your child. How is Casey's reaction to Caylee's death child abuse? If I understand your question correctly, the defense doesn't have to prove anything. The burden of truth is on the prosecution. You cannot prove homicide because their was reasonable doubt that the duct tape was not used to kill Caylee. As far as child abuse and agravated child abuse is concerned, there wasn't any evidence. So what do you have? Her actions were not indicative of someone who would lose a child because of an acident, and she lied. Unfortunately, if you throw out the duct tape, you don't have a homicide to start with, so everything else is inmaterial. In your gut you might feel she killed her daughter, but the evidence is not there to show that 1) there was a homicide, and 2) Casey was responsible.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. nancy gay

    makes me happy to see Nancy grace disappointed by the verdict, can you imagine being married to her?

    July 5, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Renel Frazer

      I am disappointed at all the legal analys and so called experts on CNN. They were formers prosecuters and attorneys that should know not to put your emotions into decisions. I don't like Casey Anthony but when you take the emotion, personal feelings and speculations out of it the state did not show evidence of murder. There was too much reasonable doubt to convict her of murder.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • lee

      I think the media needs to back off of the anthonys and now Casey. This Nancy grace should be reprimanded by her superiors for some of the things she talks about. It's over Nancy Grace let this family move on! Same with this Vinnie Politan.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Justice for all

    Nancy, I cannot thank you enough for proving to the "world" that justice from within a courtroom is still available. No matter the rights or wrongs of this decision, you and your TV journalist cronies have proven that our system works as intended without taking into consideration the pride and prejudices of pundits who make money weighing in, pontificating about ones certainty of the outcome, and passing judgement prematurely. Tell us, are you angered more with the court system than with the defendant right now? I bet you are since the defendant didn't cause you to lose all credibility with the viewers you've tried to coerce over the past three years!

    July 5, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
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