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. Lloyd M.

    Since Miss Anthony cannot be called a murderer, here's the next best name we can apply to her... an irresponsible, reckless, self-absorbed, self-centered, self-serving piece of pond filth!

    July 5, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • sabarbaract

      you forgot sociopath!! our society encourages it..

      July 5, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ed Harris

    Isn't it interesting that any case that Nancy Grace backs – it is proven she is WRONG, she only uses emotion and not facts, this women should not be on TV – but she is due to so many American's believing her and the ratings she gets. Sad statement for America – Nancy Grace should be on trial for false news stories and lying to incite hatred.

    Nancy Grace is a pathetic excuse for news and a piece of garbage – no more, no less.

    Turn off your TV's sheeple forget about this trial it has nothing to do with you or your lives, a Jury of her peers found her NOT Guilty – Justice is done.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sharon

    To think Casey could be walking free Thursday is beyond belief!! Isn't there ANYTHING in this country that is accountable for anymore???

    July 5, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. LCF

    This is such a miscarriage of justice....i hope Casey Anthony is tortured for the rest of her natural life and dies a slow painful death.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Just a Mom

    God Bless Caylee. Be Damned the child killer who got away with murder.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mother1982Lori

    true she cant but she can be tried for being responseable for her death just like oj was since she put her self there she said she was there when she died in the pool so she amitted guilt and i hope some one picks up on and remembers what she said and charges her with resoneabilty

    July 5, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dad5

    I did not watch the trial therefore I can only speculate her guilt. I will tell you she mind as well have been given a guilty verdict and death sentence. No one will hire her, no one in their right mind will date her, no woman will respect her in any situation..... She lost this trial in the worst way mentally. She will forever be in a worse prison than behind bars. Not to mention the demented folks out there that will send her death threats. No thank you. No one won this decision.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Carmen

    may you rot freak!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Angry

    I am so angry and shocked.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ron

    She was guilty as sin,free after tommorrow to go sin again. She can join OJ simpson,and a host of killers set free now,by bleeding heart liberals ..She will pay for it in time,they all will..

    July 5, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. AZ_BFI

    As I watched the press conference with the Attorney General and the Orange County Sheriff, I found it rather odd that the Sheriff would ask that everyone stay peaceful, and then he proceeded to tell the entire world what street she lived in (and where). I'm not saying I agree or disagree with the verdict, I'm saying, is it right for Law Enforcement to give out that kind of information? I don't think so.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. J B

    People don't get your panties in a bunch behind the "not guilty' verdict. Casey is now facing the beginning of the end of her life. She will be scorned everywhere she goes because everyone knows who she is and everyone thinks she is guilty and she is. I wouldn't be surprised if she didnt commit suicide in the next few years. She did it and she knows it. She doesnt have a consciense so guilt won't be the deciding factor, but I believe that society's rejection of her will put her in a sucidial spiral. I just wonder what is going to happen to the Antony family???? They have been destroyed!

    July 5, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Surprised_but_Not

    I think she is guilty of killing her child, whether it be accidentally or intentionally, but the prosecution made an error on their decision to go for Murder 1 and the death penalty. There was not a clear murder weapon or any conrete physical evidence to prove Casey intentionally killed her child. This case is not comepletely over and Casey will not get off scott free in the end. I feel there is enough to prove involuntary manslaughter or murder in the 2nd degree which could include her maybe "over-doing it" with the chloroform to put her daughter to sleep or allowing her to drown in the pool due to neglect. She WILL BE brought up on some other charges eventually once new evidence is found or someone else comes forward with something. This woman caused her child to die in one way or another. The whole family is screwed up and didn't deserve this little girl in their lives, and every one of them knew about what Casey had done and did nothing to bring this to light. They'll all pay eventually, whether in this life or the next, and will suffer from the guilt of what they've done. The prosecution did all they could and my heart goes out to their efforts to try and bring justice for Caylee. Just a sad story that I wish I had never heard at all.

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

      I agree with all u have said here. Obviously Casey has had psychological problems all her life but the parents were in denial & never sought help for her. By the time she became a teenager she had them wrapped around her fingers & was in charge of that household. Lee is the only one who seems to have a little truth in him that's why he has stayed away. I am not sorry for the parents, serve them right for lying & covering up for her. Leave her to time! She has no conscience, no feelings! That family is the ultimate dysfunctional family. How can they go on after all that has come out? Make no mistake, the truth will float like oil on water in the future. Whatever is done in darkness will come to light one day.

      July 5, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Diana

    WOW......OJ case all over again. Not guilty?! are you serious?! What a disappointment!

    July 5, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Katherine Christophe

    This verdict is outrageous and byeond belief. What country do we live in? The evidence in the trunk, coupled with all other evidence, was enough for any child with common sense. There is no justice, this jury will be the most hated jury in the history of the US aside from those who served on OJ's trial, and Casey will be the most hated defendent in history. How will this verdict affect the upcoming presidnetial election? , given this is an extremely liberal verdict, and why would anyone think there was not enough evidence, and Casey deseves a 2nd chance while she knowly lied when her daugher was rotting in the woods?

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