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. Zech

    No real hard evidence against charles manson or john ghotti....just someones testimoney......................N

    July 5, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. pmmm

    i hope someone kills her on the street i would serve a life sentence. to bring justice to that little girl. shes laying in a field an her moms out partyen. she better not move to Mi i will hunt her down my self. i wonder how much it cost to pay the jury off. All you ppl that agree with the jury i hope your children run away or you dont have any.

    July 5, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • BREAKING NEWS: CNN Blows!!

      What an ignorant pile of shat.

      July 5, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • sonia

      Dear PMM, no one will kill her, she is under protective custody of the Devil as long as she is on earth. She has a mission for the Devil, to live a prosperous life after trowing her daughter's body in the woods like a trash, walking away with causing her death, in order to prove the word that there is no justice, that there is no God. If not, someone should place a duct tape over her face and leave her in the same woods.

      July 5, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sherri

    If it was an accident, why duck tape her nose and mouth? The mother is s serious liar and thief. She has no repect for her family. In my heart I know she is guilty of murder, and god knows too.

    July 5, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Zech

    No real hard evidence against charles manson or john ghotti....just someones testimoney......................NO HARD EVIDENCE.....apparently we should let chuck out

    July 5, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Steve

    To bad Osama did get a fair trial by a jury of his peers in say Orange county. He could have a bestseller book out by now and be a productive member of society. It might not have been his fault maybe his father stuck his penis in his mouth!

    July 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zech


      July 5, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • luckynlouky

      @ Steve...have YOU ever been molested? By your own Father?? If NOT, you may want to think twice about your comments!

      July 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tammy M

    Why does everyone think she is guilty. There was no evidence. The investigators screwed up when they did not investigate the first telephone call by Kronk. There may have been evidence to convict at that time. Kronk messed with the skull and you cannot use duct tape evidence. Experts of chloroform had contradictory evidence. No evidence of decomp in the trunk of the car. No evidence...No conviction. Do you realize how many innocent people are imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. Casey Anthony is probably guilty of Manslaughter, but there is NO EVIDENCE and should be set free!

    July 5, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ana

      ???really???!!!! The lying!!?? Hello???

      July 5, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • sonia

      what about child neglect, Caylee didn't get up one morning and run to the woods and lay their to die taking her blanket with her. Someone must have caused her death either voluntarily or the opposite. If she drowned in the pool( which I don't believe) then someone should be charged for child neglect and that someone should be Caysee because she was with her that day. Why would she toss her body in the woods? because she wanted to avoid being held responsible for child neglect. Did she succed? yes

      July 5, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rudolph

    Hey CNN ....Where is Rick Sanchez when you really need him? Maybe 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 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Darlene

    Not that I am saying that Casey didn’t have something to do with the death of her child but, not only 1 but 2 Cadaver dogs hit on the pool and playhouse right from the start of the search. I remember that from watching Nancy Grace.

    July 5, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. luckynlouky

    I was positive that Casey killed her precious lil baby 3 yrs. ago, and when they started this jury selection. Then, I chose to sit back and listen to each and every testimony and read the evidence online, then come to my conclusion. It was opening statements that made me start to change my thoughts, along with the proof and lack of proof that led me to believe this wasn't anyone's fault. It was a tragic accident, that scared Casey and her Father, which led to all the cover up! It's my feeling that Casey WOULD have told about the accident, had her father NOT yelled at scared her into thinking she was going to go to jail for the rest of her life for an accidental drowning! I've not liked that man since I first saw him three years ago,and I usually have a great judge of character. I also believe he's a child molester, as well as something not being right between Casey and her brother Lee...just not right. This whole family has major issues! My one wish is that Caylee didn't suffer as she died and that she too wasn't a victim of George's! Prosecution's comment was that Casey had to kill Caylee at this age, because she was learning to talk..... well, who's to say George was worried she would start talking about "JoJo touching"?? IDK! SUCH A SAD, SAD SITUATION ALL AROUND!

    July 5, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MTJohn

    While CNN and the other media are focusing all of their attention on the Casey Anthony verdict, what real news is NOT being reported?

    July 5, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tammy M

      So go watch CNBC.

      July 5, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lisa

    It's obvious that it is time for Professional Jurors because the average public is not intelligent enough to make the right decision. We need people trained in law to serve on the jury. These jurors should be ashamed as to what they have done. This poor child who must have suffered so much will never rest in peace. So thanks to the jury, no one will pay for what has happened. I hope Casey Anthony gets everything she deserves when she is let out of jail. Shame on the defense team who was seen at the bar across the street cheering. Especially the woman attorney with the short hair and glasses who was jumping up and down for joy. Shame on you!!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ana

      Totally agree with you!

      July 5, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. steve

    Hey CNN ....Where is Rick Sanchez when you REALLY need him? Maybe 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 's truthfulness rules!

    July 5, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      Nancy Grace, WHY CAN'T JUDGE BELVIN PERRY OVERRULE THE JURY VERDICT? Aren't judge's allowed to overrule ridiculous verdicts?

      July 5, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TheSystemIsFlawed

    If anyone is paying attention to what the alternate juror says when he's asked what evidence there was to support that Caylee's death was an "...accident that snowballed..." he does NOT provide ANY evidence to support his decision, which was extremely obvious that he came to that conclusion based on emotion alone and chose to shrug off any REAL forensic evidence. I'm sure the jury came to their conclusion based on emotion as well and won't be able to state any facts to support their decision. I have to agree with the former detective that stated the best show won. IQs are slipping in this country and people are mesmerized by drama and dysfunctional families and the potential dysfunction of the family won out over everything else presented.

    July 5, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • mel6291

      i have never met any family that is not 'dysfunctional'. but we don't kill our babies because of it. i am so tired of people making excuses for screwing up for the dysfunctional family thing. as parents i'm sure we all feel guilt for not being the perfect parent. there is no such thing. humans are human. good people and bad people. i believe she killed her baby. unfortunately i was not on that jury. they have to live with themselves and their conscience and their families beliefs. if my family member or friend was on that jury they would not have my love or sympathy anymore.. i'm glad i don't have to deal with that.

      July 5, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Paul

    The best part of this ending is seeing the leaching filth that followed this case day to day angry and frustrated because someone's life was not destroyed. This is the same human debris that over feeds themselves on junk food, ice cream cones and sits in front of the tele and watches crap like The Biggest Loser or some reality BS. This is the state of America and they wonder why the rest of the world hates us.

    July 5, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Vlado

    Hey CNN: fire the stupid Nancy if you want me to watch CNN again!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
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