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. haley

    wow. not guilty? looks like the "justice" system has found this generation's o.j.

    July 5, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bill

    Guilty or not, I'd lick her butt.

    July 5, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      She does have a nice turdcutter!

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

      She is in dire need of a rim job! A little anal discipline will straighten her out.

      July 5, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • PentecostalTexan

      Y'all are disgusting!!!!

      July 6, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. Matt

    wow ... what is happening here .... the greatest country in the world is being taken for a big ride by it's system???
    This is ridiculous ... THERE IS A KILLER THERE FOR SURE ... AND WE HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO FIND HIM/HER??? The system with all the top notch ability haven't been able to find the "KILLER". surprise!
    I don't care whether she is guilty or not ... but the question is where is the "KILLER"
    So now the state wants us to believe that there is a killer on the loose in the state of Florida, who targets little girls and kills them and then leaves them in the truck of their mother's car for 31 days and then comes back picks the body up and dumps it in the woods ... lol ... what a justice system ...
    As a father of 2 beautiful girls I am now worried sick of this place. Me even though not being the little girl's (Calyee's) father ... I'm so upset, sad & angry that I so badly want to find the "KILLER" and you are telling me that her own mother (birth mother) don't want to do that ... all she is worried about is herself. If she was serious,genuine & not guilty, instead of paying for lawyers for the last 3 yrs all she had to was spend some money and try her best to find the "KILLER" (that's what any normal and genuine person or parent would do) and of course isn't that also her best defence (finding the killer and prove her innocence like killing 2 birds with one shot ... but oh no why would she do that (why would she want to waste money to find herself, lol) all she was worried about was NOT-GUILTY! NOT ABOUT WHO KILLED MY DAUGHTER."
    It's sad, I don't want to be thinking like this, but it is the truth, we live in a country like this ... I was talking to a friend of mine who works in the court ... every day in the court room .... seen a lot of cases ... this is want he had to say "All I know is that somebody has got paid big time in this case. If it was anywhere else she would have been convicted" I was shocked to hear this, that too from a person who knows in and out of court dealings .... wow and all this while I thought in this great country of ours we are safe haha ... think twice my dear friends all that is just a myth. No wonder in this country of ours there are so many of innocent people behind bars and plenty of "KILLER (KILLER'S) ON THE LOOSE". I don't know about you all, this scares me, and for the life of my little ones ... with a not guilty "KILLER ON THE LOOSE"

    July 5, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allen

      Orange county screwed this trial up. They did not have enough evidence to convict for first degree murder. And Mr.Ashton laughing really put the icying on the cake. She has made more money off this case then anyone.

      July 5, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Addict

    Quick. Somebody kill some one. I need my Nancy Grace fix. need to know someone else is guilty fast. gettin the shakes

    July 5, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. lynn

    I'm like alot of you thinkinkin she was guility but you have to rmember how the systems works again in my mind she was guility but there was resaoable doubt. After listerening I did she that where thr public did not see all they saw and heard was what the news was telling them Do you actually think that she was that smart to not leave any evidence at all come on now look at her Anyway I will not go on and on the point was cause resonable doubt and that is why I system works so well and believe me their was alot of resonable ITS CAUSE NO PROVE hey what about the man whom suppose to fine her then four months later call back in again and the story change guess no one thought about that wake up people their is alot more to this tradey

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

      what the hell did you just ramble off?

      July 5, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Allen

    The county over stepped and did not have enough to convict for first degree murder. Orange county Florida has the worst percentage of conviction. I'm from Orlando and our prosecutor Mr.Ashton laughing was an embarrassment to our city and state.

    July 5, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Zech

    Hey Bill, you can lick my butt!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bayousara

    Florida needs a "Caylee Anthony" Day every single year. The Anthony family needs to get mental health counseling.

    They didn't even know who this child's father was! I have no doubt Casey will be pregnant soon. Casey will be back in the bars in no time.

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

      WOW BAYOUSARA! That is a legitimately scary thought! HOW BOUT THIS ONE...WE ALL NEED A LICENSE TO DRIVE A CAR. SHE CAN BREED AT WILL!

      July 5, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ana

      Casey will be back IN the bars again, since she dont have anything else to worry about. PARTY,!!!! even the ex fiancé is in shock!!! But u know what, as soon as Casey gets out, it's ganna be he'll for her out here cuz a lot of us really want a piece of her,,,I know I do, and I'm willing to fly to Florida just to kick her ass!

      July 5, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mommyof2

    I am glad to see the Defence Team in Aww and Joy because they won and proved Casey's Innocence..
    Justice Served!!
    We do not care what the media's oppinions are anymore!!

    July 5, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marilyn L Williams

      Good for you mommyof2 So many people have lost sight of the fact that the prosecution did not out forward enough proof to convict this girl of murder, The entire family appears to me to be dysfunctional, how come no one is saying anything about the fact that George tried to kill himself? really? why? they all got issues and there may be a possibility that they all know what happened, at the end of the day, I truly believe the jury got it right based on the evidence! this means that justice was served. Think about how you would feel if you were the one on trial? or a family member. The pendulum swings both ways.

      July 5, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. johnl60415

    i cant wait to watch nancy grace i think her head my pop tonight

    July 5, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Daniel

    We get the government we deserve. Pay attention to taxes and elections, or we'll get another GW Bush.

    July 5, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sherri

    If the child died accidently and the mother tried to mcover it up saying she was missing, then why in the hell duck tape her mouth and nose? This mother was serious liar and a thief. I feel she is 100% guilty and should have been found so!!

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

      Nobody duct taped the child mouth and nose. Didn't you watch the trial. Kronk messed with the skull and remains. The duct tape could have come from anywhere. Again, NO Evidence.

      July 5, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. StupidPeopleDoExist

    Nancy Grace and all of her Co-Workers are just beside themselves over the Jurys Decision. They are raising a mob. A mob that is going to keep building until something bad happens. And it is going to happen to Casey Anthony or the Anthony Family. George & Cindy are already getting death threats. I can't believe these News People are getting away with what they are saying. Why should we even of had a trial for Casey, Nancy and her co-workers could of just strung her up on CNN/HLN. She talks about how the Jury "had their minds made up" what the hell , doesn't Nancy and her co-workers "Have Their Minds Made UP"? And now all they can do is keep talking about the Jury and their decision. I am so scared that someone is going to try and shoot Casey or the Anthonys because of what Nancy and her Co-Workers keep saying on the network. Casey didn't party for 31 days straight, she went to one hot body contest, she got one tattoo. Nancy and her Co-Workers make it sound like she went out partying and didn't stop for 31 days. People handle tradgedy different. My husband shot himself in front of me and I didn't roll up in a ball and die to, I had children and family to take care of. I went on with my life as normally as I could. And I didn't cry over him in public, if I cried at all, he did a very selfish thing and it still makes me mad to this day, almost ten years later.
    Nancy Grace – YOU and YOur Co-WORKERS NEED TO ACCEPT THE JURY'S DECISION and DROP IT!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • GAPeach

      THANK YOU!. I AGREE WITH YOU 100%!!!!. THE MEDIA HAD HER STRUNG UP BEFORE THE TRIAL BEGAN. EVERYONE HANDLES TRAGEDY DIFFERENT AND YES, I BELIEVE ALSO SOME WILL GET HURT BECAUSE OF THIS VERDICT. I HOPE NOT.

      July 5, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sick of media!!!

      Well said! Did you people watch the trial? I did! I thought she was quilty before I watched the trial! The prosecution did not prove their case! You can't blame anyone but the prosecutuion for that! A jury has spoken! That is the only justiice system we have. Like it or Leave America!

      July 5, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rudolph

    Hey CNN ....Where is Rick Sanchez when you really need him?
    Perhaps you should let him have another kick at the cat. I suppose you still hold his un-biased opinions and media professionalism against him though.
    Nancy Grace on the other hand could be pawned off to the National Enquirer. Oh, I forgot…..she’s already on HLN.
    Jack Cafferty rules!
    ‘Nuff said!

    July 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bob

    Can an attourney lie in court? Baez actually said that she did not kill Caylee. Does a lawyer ask his client NOT to reveal her guilt?

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