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. Steve

    Congratulations to the Anthony family for pulling off the perfect crime! My only question now is which one of you actually placed her in the bag. I'm starting to lean towards Cindy Anthony!

    July 5, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shel

      I agree someone in that family knows what really happened. I point my finger at George. I say he did something, he hid the body, he covered the whole thing up. George was a police officer, he knows how the law works, he knew they couldn't convict Casey on what evidence they had. She was a good liar yes, but that's is all, she isn't smart enough to pull this off by herself however, he actually knew what he was doing. He is the only one who knew what they would test, look for, use as evidence and he is experienced in the art of law. I don't think Casey is guilty of murder but I think she knew what wa happening.

      July 5, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shel

      I agree someone in that family knows what really happened. I point my finger at George. I say he did something, he hid the body, he covered the whole thing up. George was a police officer, he knows how the law works, he knew they couldn't convict Casey on what evidence they had. She was a good liar yes, but that's is all, she isn't smart enough to pull this off by herself however, he actually knew what he was doing. He is the only one who knew what they would test, look for, use as evidence and he is experienced in the art of law. I don't think Casey is guilty of murder but I think she knew what was happening and so did Cindy and Lee. They trusted Dad.

      July 5, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Carol

    I have watched Cullen Davis get away with mruder and murder for hire. I have watched O.J. Simpson get away with murder. Now I have watched Casey Anthony get away with murder. No CSI, Law&Order or Mentalist ending for Caylee Anthony. Perhaps Casey will be like O.J. and go look for the "real" murderer now. In the end it comes down to 12 people who I would like to send connect the dot books to so they can learn that rather simple task. I never expected the dealth penalty or even conviction of murder, but I did expect that any fool could recognize that Casey was, at best a negligent Mother with no thought of grief for her dead daughter, while she partied for a month and lied to her parents. What a thoughtless, scheming and deadly brat!!! her parents and Casey will ultimately have to answer to a higher power.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Patience

    Some times justice is not fair. People of all backgrounds sit on the jury. They try to go through the process to weed out those who will be honest and true in their verdict. This is not always the case. I don't care what no one says. This is not always the case. Now be aware, the next cases that come around about mother's and their children. This is a precedent case and will be used all across the country. I'm not saying that the prosecution presented evidence that would stick but just because they didn't doesn't mean that she is not responsible for her child's death. That is something she will have to live with and believe you me; she will pay for it one way or the other; just not this time. What goes around, comes around. Let's just hope that she doesn't have another child for her conveniently misplace for 31 days, and get away with it again.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tom

    Nancy Grace – The most disgusting person on TV. How many people has this 'devil' harmed by her vigilante tatics. By providing the devil with a way to reach millions CNN has gone from being a serious network news network to a Gerry Springer network. I never watch CNN anymore because of this. What goes around comes around Nancy 'the devil' Grace. One day all of the pain that you cause others may come back to you and your family!

    July 5, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • SP

      Amen, Tom!!!! Can I ask if you have a suggestion of a more reliable news source – after Nancy Satan Grace's verbal rant today, I'm going to start shopping around AGAIN!

      July 5, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. livinwharmony

    I would hate to be at that family reunion

    July 5, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gomez the Gipsy Guy

      I would definitely bring my own duct tape....and some bags....and some chloroform...and....

      July 5, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ron

    All the criticizing of the jury is unwarranted. Bottom line, our system relies on presentation of cases from the prosecution and the defense. The state marshalled all their resources, deliberately acted and charged their crimes and they COULD NOT convince a jury of 12 of the defendant's guilt. If anyone should incur the wrath of people's anger at the outcome, it should be the prosecution/district attorney and police. Hands down, they built and presented a flawed case and could not convince even 1 juror of the defendants guilt. Justice for the child? The state didn't do their job.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jay Hood

    Let it be people!!!! Caylee went before a jury of her peers, was found not guilty. In the eyes of the law, she's not guilty. Regardless of all your speculation. Personally if I was on the jury, she would have been not guilty even if they had video. I've been at dinner here in Houston and overheard prosecutors laugh at the innocent people they've put away. If I ever sit on a jury, not guilty, not guilty, not guilty, If she did do it, it still will never amount to all the 1000's innocent people dirty prosecutors lock up. God speed!!!! Acquit more people.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gomez the Gipsy Guy

      Go back to the Hood Jay Z

      July 5, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • SIDDY

      ACTUALLY JAY HOOD, IT WAS CASEY WHO WENT B4 A JURY. CAYLEE DOESN'T HAVE THE OPTION. SHE's no longer w/us.

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

    The state should have sought involuntary manslaughter they would have won and casey would have been in jail at least until she was old enough not to reproduce. Per her defense she was involved with the death of her daughter and helped to cover it up. But unfortunetly becouse of our system she is not allowed to be tried again for anything concerning the death of her child. However if she was convicted she has a right to appeal and request a new trial yet the state does not have that option this is a shame.

    July 5, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. octoberdiane

    Geraldo Rivera said shame on the prosecution for trying this case with race in mind.
    I say, "Shame on you Gerald for saying that if the defendant were African-American or Latino the prosecution would have gone about it differently." Race card,again. Really Geraldo?

    July 5, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. R U Serious

    Whether you believe justice was served or not, it's done. She was found not guilty. Rather than point fingers, name call and spread hate, we should all take something away from this. Let us never take our eyes off of our children and perhaps we can avoid another horrific tragedy.

    July 5, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. SIDDY

    I just heard on HLN that the Anthony's r getting death threats ALREADY! The ONLY Anthony that needs 2 watch her back is Casey. If ONLY for being SUCH a deceptive b***h. Also,it's VERY DIFFICULT for me to find such a lying,deceptive individual "attractive". GIVE ME A BREAK! The ONLY time she ever cried throughout the entire trial was when someone talked about her feelings. HOW ABOUT THE BABY!!! She didn't shed a single genuine tear the entire trial. Why was the jury so eager to get the f outta Dodge???

    July 5, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • SP

      Why do we kill people who kill people? We kill people who kill people to show people that killing people is wrong!

      July 5, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Loni

    Can Casey not be tried for unlawful disposal of a body?? Is that not a different crime.

    July 5, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Myra

      This is the most confusing of all! How did this not fall under child abuse? She knew it, she interfered in an investigation, she caused the state to spend money on searches, she allowed a body to rot, and on and on. So how could she not be held for something more then lying?

      July 5, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Scott S.

    Okay CNN and HLN, the trial has concluded. Unfortunately, nothing will bring the little girl back to life, especially your network and others over analyzing and sensationalizing, as if there is absolutely no other news to report. I feel for everyone involved, and wish them the best. Unfortunately, if people like myself want the other news stories of the day, we have to rely on foreign news sources, rather than what YOU CHOOSE to report.

    July 5, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • aaa

      I agree.

      July 5, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marilyn L Williams

      I fully agree with you Scott. I am an attorney and unlike all the experts opining their analysis on this matter, I have always felt that the prosecution did not put forward enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this defendant committed this crime, they have been quite busy showing her inappropriate behavior after the child's death but that does not prove she committed the crime of murder. I wish the media would pay some respect to the judicial process and leave the issues to be tried in court. I for one feel like they have paid way too much TV attention to this case. The jury got it right!!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zech

      Yet here you are reading and commenting on it ya hypocrite.

      July 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mommyof2

    The media trys to minipulate everyone that watch's tv. I believe she was not guilty right from the get go and beleive that the State done a very poor job on gathering information on finding the real killer of this little girl. They could have done a much better job searching for caylee but who am I to say they did not do the best they could. It is so funny to sit and listen to Nancy Degrace (good one who ever come up with that), when she said that the jury had their mind made up before it started, well who would know better then mrs mouth on having your mind made up.. the media (ALL OF THE MEDIA CNN AND HLN) tried to pursuey the public by running their mouth from the get go. How many times has the media said could have or might have or anything like that during this case, not many! They had their mind made up and brain washed half of america instead of focusing on gathering more evidence and looking for more information on the real killer. Just as the Jon Bonet Ramsey case, the law screwed that up also and the media so that got left un solved! They need to not try and decide the verdict before the verdict is read and maybe the medias pride will not be hurt so much... kudos again to Beaz and Mason Team Great Job!! Justice Served!!

    July 5, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nutsy

      There was no hard evidence to convict Scott Peterson of his wife Lacy and unborn childs murder.
      Maybe we should let him out.

      July 5, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • SIDDY

      WOW! WERE WE WATCHING THE SAME TRIAL?

      July 5, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nutsy

      lets let out Drew Peterson too. Just because his wives kept turning up dead doesn't mean he did it

      July 5, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      You would be much more credible if you could speak, spell and write in proper English. Your entire post shows that you are uneducated, and identify with Casey Anthony. Crawl back to your trailer, with any luck Casey will be your neighbor. Maybe you can have her babysit sometime?

      July 5, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ana

      Mommyof2 too! Wow! I can not believe u think like this, but we all have our own opinion. I did not have to hear what the media had to say to think that cassy was guilty. If she didnt do it herself, she's still guilty because she know something and she is not saying anything, why didn't she go on the stand??!!! Hhhmmmmm!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • pmmm

      You people are sick. no 1 cares if anyone goes to jail for her death not even the florida police. they have no ambition to try and find out who did it. She do'nt even remember she had a daughter. they just proved if you wanna get rid of your kids go to florida.

      July 5, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Zech

    Hey, if my kid drowned in a pool, I wouldnt call an ambulance either; I would put the kid in my trunk for 31 days, go party, and get a tat. Wouldnt you all do the same thing? After all, that was her defense, and it worked great!! I've got 2 kids myself. There is lots of times when I would love to go party instead of being a daddy, but I cant because of the darn kids. It's good to know that if I'm fed up enough with them, all I need is some chloroform, duct tape, and a trunk; and heck, if I get caught, all I have to do is lie!! I love this country!! Long Live Murder!! Just dont get caught smokin weed, you will do time. But killin your kid is cool. For all you dense people on here (and I see there is alot of you) this is total sarcasm (except for the weed thing) Untill the Lord's judgement, Caylee will NEVER have justice........Casey is still alive.

    July 5, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • SIDDY

      AMEN BROTHER! WELL SAID!

      July 5, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • PentecostalTexan

      You said everything I wanted to say! You are soooo right man.

      July 5, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Myra

      So I cannot understand is the defense admits that the baby drowned in the pool and that Casey was there and did nothing. If they believed this and also that her father disposed of the body and she also knew this and still does not report then she is not held responsible for her part in this cover up? Is this not child abuse? How can you pay nothing for this?

      July 5, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ana

      U r so right !!!?

      July 5, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
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