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. jo

    Reasonable doubt would be tough to conclude with out a determination of cause of death.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. angela

    Can you imagine how sick the judge is about this verdict????

    July 5, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff

    If Casey didn't murder Caylee, who did?

    July 5, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Renel Frazer

      We don't know for sure that she was murdered... that's the whole point! All we know is that she died but we don't know how she died. If the jury belieed her death was an accident and she tried to cover it up that still makes her innocent of murder.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. katheyindallas

    There was not enough evidence proven... don't blame the jurors.. they did their job .. the prosecution just didn't have enough facts to do it........ instead of all this anger... everyone try to donate $1.00 to some child abuse agency in Caylee's honor.. make her death mean something...

    July 5, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Why? There is no evidence that Caylee was a victim of child abuse.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. dleestep

    Somewhere OJ is smiling

    July 5, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jean Sartre

    Nancy Grace, the 160 decibel loudmouthed, know nothing, except her own brand of hate and viciousness, says the: “devil is dancing."
    Actually, that's about all I care to hear from Nancy Grace: IF she believes in devils’, then she is as delusional as I always thought she was; maybe she can team up with Michelle Bachmann and run for a Pee Party Position...

    July 5, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Shirley

    I can not believe what I heard.I do not think this jury went in to do anything but listen and leave.I just listened to a Man that was on the jury and I can not believe what he said.He said that the police did not smell anything when they went to the house,which is so untrue,they did testifie they did smell the oder in the car.He did not believe George and please tell me how he comes to that.That Man was so upset and does anyone for one minute think that he would have let his Daughter sit in Jail 3 years and be tried and maybe be put to death if he was covering anything up.What is wrong with these people and I wonder how they can live with the knowledge that KAYLEE was thrown away like trash in a swamp while her Mom did nothing but lie and party for as long as she could (31) days until she had to come half way clean.I pray that all these people will see the eyes of Kaylee every day and see her asking why.I also Pray that the killer will never have a happy day in her life and will see Kaylee every day looking in her eyes and wondering "how could you kill me when I loved you so much"The killer will pay,if not in this life and the next.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      It's simple, Shirley. There is no credible evidence that there was even a homicide. There was no credible evidence connecting Casey to the disposal of Caylee. George was caught in many lies. You're putting the blinders on if you didn't see it. By the way, this is George's worst day because if the investigation remains open, the focus shifts to him.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Linda Berke

    Jurors were dressed up, knew they would be seeing press soon and that's how you could guess they were near a verdict. Funny but they dressed up the very first day of deliberations. BUT they didn't talk to press today. Why? They are either cowards who wanted to hurry up and go home without facing more time during a penalty phase and having to explain to America or they want to write a book or all of the above. Gov't teacher taking copious notes. The dressed up jurors were expecting to talk to press. Possibly pressured into not talking by the more dominant jurors who have a personal agenda.

    Peterson was convicted on far less. If you make the media and Oprah rounds, nobody will read your book since they already know everything. Nobody would make a movie and reward OJ and neither will they reward Casey A. I guess she will have to write a book called, "If I did it."

    In the end, jury wanted out of court. They didn't want to deal with staying for any type of penalty phase. Convincing all others not to talk so they can write their book? What other explanation is there?

    Just a theory,
    Linda in Santa Cruz, CA

    July 5, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      You can criticize the jury all you want, but they did their job and did it admirably. There was reasonable doubt all over the essential evidence to prove this was even a homicide. You should be assame of yourself berating the jury for doing their job according to the law. It doesn't matter how the verdict turned out, this jury was going to be famous. They had more to lose with a not guilty plea than guilty. Before you get on your high horse and accuse a jury of misjustice, you should know what the heck you're talking about. It's one thing to disagree with the verdict, but it's something all together wrong to chastise this jury for doing their job.

      July 5, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Steve

    The lack of common sense in this country will be it's downfall. The idea of a jury was based in the old days when people had common sense. While I agree there was no "smoking gun" there was enough information provided to the jury to make a intelligent decision. I hope those 12 morons go home watch the media and realize they made a huge mistake. Justice was not served and now never will be thanks to those idiots.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Okay, Steve, let us talk about common sense because apparently you lack it. There is no DNA of the victim on the so-called murder weapon, which is the duct tape. Because "There is no smoking gun." Gee, Steve, common sense says you have to have a murder weapon in order for there to be a homicide. This jury had nothing but common sense. That is why they came to the only verdict they logically could come to. They should be commended for their service instead of berated.

      July 5, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. And there you have it...

    The state should now charge George Anthony with Caylee's death, and call up Casey to testify against him...

    July 5, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      That might not be totally out of the question. I think that is why George is not a happy camper, tonight.

      July 5, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ed Harris

    Not Guilty – our legal system has spoken, now everyone here should go get a life. Like it or not she is Not Guilty!

    Anyone saying justice was not done is not very American, and are probably gullible idiots that believe everything they see on TV and Nancy Grace (a horrible human being).

    July 5, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Susie

    How is it that her defense team is this mislead by someone who has lied to her father, mother, brother, boyfriend, all of her so called best friends, every FBI investigator, every Orange County police officer, Orlando police and the list goes on and on and on, but they are convinced she is telling THEM the truth, how uneducated are these people???

    July 5, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • kevin k in tx

      if there is a shadow of a doubt that she is innocent, if your pinky finger says she is innocent than the rest of you HAS to say she is not guilty.. This is america ppl, this is the judicial system, if she is innocent (which i don't think she is but have no proof otherwise) than we cannot put her in jail and esp cannot kill her. You would want the same rationale afforded to you. 12 ppl AGREED with this...

      July 5, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • sabarbaract

      The prosecution did an excellent job! I think the case was lost when so little time was given to explain "reasonable doubt"...does not mean any doubt!! sometimes I think the dumbest people live in Florida, even OJ and remember the chad count..

      July 5, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • dmt

      I don't understand your post or anyone else that has posted on this site.
      Fact: she was tried by a jury of her peers, the verdict: NOT GUILTY what part of this not you all understand, no one knows what really happened to this little girl but what I can say is she wasn't convicted, so she is innocent. If you want to be mad about this take it up with the state of Florida and the proc. that did such a poor job, and the Police and investigators????. The worst testimony in this whole case is listening to police and the fubbling lack of professionalism the showed. They were all more worried about the snake then looking at evidence. I work with cases like this alot and let me tell you there are other people in this case I believe should be facing the jury. I don't believe from the beginning she would be found guilty, unless there was a jury that just wanted someone to pay for this crime. Lastly, Nancy Gray should report the story and show less indication that she thinks a murderer got off. Come on Nancy you know how this works she was found Not guilty so your opinion doesn't need to be reported, just report the story.....

      July 5, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pam Davey

      Kevin...a verdict of "not guilty" does not mean she's innocent...it means the evidence did not prove above a reasonable doubt that she's guilty

      July 5, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • sabarbaract

      Sorry Kevin, that is not how the law reads..is there reasonable doubt? the word is reasonable...not a part of your little pinky..is is Reasonable that she did not kill her, really reasonable, would the average person, a reasonable person react to the death of her baby daughter this way. Not very reasonable in my eyes...not even likely, not even remotely!

      July 5, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • sabarbaract

      remember: Attorneys think money, money, money..they lie, create stories etc...just to win and make millions! this is called capitalism.

      July 5, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Judy in NC

    My heart breaks for that beautiful baby........but, I do believe that justice was served today. Where was the proof? I really thought that both sides gave a really good case, they just didn't have enough of the facts to convict. I do not believe that Casey killed her daughter......there was an accident somewhere, somehow......but, I don't even know how she died, yet?? Come on people, give this jury a break.....they did their job to the letter of the law! God bless Caylee!

    July 5, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • BRANDY from McAlester OK

      ok, maybe there WAS NO PROOF that she killed her, but Her Lawyer even stated

      July 5, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Angry Citizen

    I am thoroughly disgusted. What kind of a world do we live in where a parent can kill their own child, party while the body decomposes, and still be found not guilty. This animal should NOT be allowed to reproduce again. She should have her uterus and ovaries ripped out without the luxury of pain medicine and forced to eat her reproductive organs raw.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lloyd M.

      Angry Citizen, I'd SECOND that in a heartbeat!

      Really, what more can you say about a national culture that has largely green-lighted the killing of kids for nearly 40 years by now?

      July 5, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • another angry citizen

      how stupid are those jurors? what murderer makes sure they leave evidence, ie dna, fingerprints, witnesses? this is a sorry day for Florida. Murderers are welcome in the state of Florida. Casey Anthony killed that beautiful little girl and got away with it.

      July 5, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Silent Spectator

    Anderson Cooper and CNN are the best. The verdict was a reliief because in the United States of America a person is innocent until proven guilty. The proof and fact was not provided to convict. I am very greatful for persons who do the right thing.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
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