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. Devils Advocate

    It is obvious that Casey had something to do with it. The State however proved nothing. The states case was all supposition and a likely account of events as they unrolled. You are innocent until proven guilty and the state failed to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I am from Orlando and have followed the testimony very closely. If she had been convicted then none of us would be safe from false prosecution.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Frank Airport

    Do any of these people really even exist? GET A LIFE!

    July 5, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • lolly

      Mr. Airport, you need to get a life. You are spending entirely too much time on here already.

      July 5, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. PhilC

    The laughing man is not laughing anymore.
    He was a complete idiot the state needs to fire him.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ethersearch

    If there is anybody to be blamed for the unsatisfying outcome in this case, it is a lousy police work. If the child's body were found upon the first report by the meter reader in August rather than 5 months latter in December, there would be some DNA, there would be finger prints, and there, perhaps, would be more conclusive evidence for or against the mother, or, perhaps, even an entirely different lead.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      That is if the meter reader was telling the truth and didn't stage the finding of the body in the swamp himself. Remember, Roy Kronk was accused of domestic battery using duct tape. The defense could not bring that in. I wonder who really disposed of Caylees body in that swamp?

      July 5, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Frank Airport

    A ghoulish, sick fascination with the banality of criminality defines you. THINK ABOUT IT.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. TR in Dallas

    This proves our justice system works the way it was designed. Casey Anthony was judged by a jury of her peers. Morons just like her.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jason nally

    Why is everyone so shocked. The state did a terrible job, ther ewas no evidence, i said weeks ago she would be not guilty. put yourself in her shoes not before it happened but in the court facing what she was you wouldnt want the legal system to break rules just to convict, you would fight for your life. shes not guilty so deal with it.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Grandma

    Satan is probably dancing on Cayllee's little grave. Casey Anthony has gotten away with murder. And they wonder why we no longer have any faith left in our judicial system!!

    July 5, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Frank Airport

    This sad, twisted story reveals how the LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR drives the news cycle. Why should anyone not personally affected by this LOCAL CRIME STORY get so involved in this nonsense? MINDLESS.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. lolly

    OMG – 12 complete morons. Did anyone read their bios. I would have loved them to be in judgement of me if I committed a crime. They probably just wanted to get on with their cruises, etc. They knew full well before any deliberations that they would acquit her. All I am hoping for is "what comes around goes around". Rest in Peace beautiful little Caylee.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • PhilC

      @lolly
      If the 12 found her guilty on all counts you would be jumping for joy not throwing insults their way.
      Prosecutor-aka 'The Laughing guy' & shabby police work are to blame not the Jury

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

    They said not guilty on the key charges! The jury of her peers has spoken. Was proof "beyond a reasonable doubt" satisfied? Not according to this jury! It's not over! For many in the media and the public, their thirst for something more will not easily be satisfied. It's amazing to watch some media personalities stoke the fires of anger and discontent. More is yet to come from this story! You can sense that it's not over with this verdict!

    July 5, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kathy Mills

    Let Scott Peterson go. No one ever proved how he killed his wife. Everyone remember lie, lie, lie. Never admit guilt. There is always doubt.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Susan

    I along with thousands of you am shocked, however I understand we have to abide by our so called justice system. It's a broken system. I call it a miscarriage of justice. I'm shocked at many things but I am appaulled at a woman whose' child goes missing and she doesn't report it for 30 days. I have a 36 year old son, who is a drug addict and a few months ago he left my home in an awful state, after a few days when he didn't answer his phone I began to worry. Several more days passed without hearing from him. I called friends and no one had heard from him. By the 12th day I was a wreck, I was sure he had overdosed. I put a post out on Face Book. Then I made a flyer with two photographs of my son and the necessary information letting everyone know I was looking for him. I went to every park in downtown Salt Lake City and passed out 100's of flyers, and that was for an adult 36 year old man, but he is my child and I would do the same for any of my children. I can't imagine ANYONE not reporting their baby missing, My heart just aches. So if Casey didn't do it........WHO DID????????????? My heart fells she did it. Susan

    July 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Beverly

    No justice, OJ Simpson, gets off and now Casey Anthony but this has been going on long before OJ Ssimpson,. So if you have MONEY you walk, or if your father is part of LAW ENFORCEMENT you can kill your child and get away with it.
    So do you think Casey Anthony and her family will look look for the murderer????????????

    July 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. scott in KC

    why is everone so upset Casey was just expressing her right to choose if she did do it. Everyone knows that all women have this right, I mean where is the outcry for the 1 million babies that are killed every year in this country or the couple of thousand that were ripped apart just today. At least Casy gave it a chance she may have just changed her mind a little later than most if she did do it.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Srsly pls

      I call troll on this one. Hey, maybe your mom can still choose too!

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