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. Sick of media!!!

    Its a shame all the mouths on here can't go back and watch the trial! Then you would see what the jury saw! It is plan to see who on this blog gets their only facts from Nancy Grace! Poor fools!

    July 5, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ANDY FROM NEW MARKET

    WATCH YOUR STEP CASEY, THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT WILL FIND YOU. DON'T BE SURPRISED IF ONE OF THEM DOESN'T PUT YOU IN A BLACK GARBAGE BAG AND THROWS YOU AWAY LIKE TRASH. GOD BE WITH YOU, BUT I DON'T THINK HE WILL BE THERE WHEN YOU NEED HIM MOST. CAYLEE WILL BE IN MY HEART FOREVER UNLIKE CASEY'S.

    July 5, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ana

      Well said! I'll be making a trip to Florida soon! Lol.

      July 5, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • find the real killer

      Ummm Try.... GROWING UP!!

      July 5, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • FU

      WHAT AN IGNORANT POS.

      July 5, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rob

    We should do away with "juries" and "rights" and just give Nancy Grace a gun and a clear shot. It would really drive up the ratings on her show. I'm sure she's already suggested it.

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

    You know on Nancy Grace someone was talking about what the good job the search team and everyone done, oh its the former Sheriff that was part of the search team saying he was confident about how the search went and stuff well if everyone can sit and say how confident they were with the search for the conditions and such and how good they felt on trying to help find this precious little girl..... THEN WHY THE DEATH THREATS TO THE FAMILY!!!!!!!!!

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

    Ok so now Casey is free, will she try to find who ever did this to her daughter? Or is she gana go party? If she is innocent like she says she is and loved Caylee so much, she will not stop until the person who killed her daughter is behind bars. Until then CASEY IS GUILTY!

    July 5, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • mel6291

      how is casey going to support herself with no job? who would hire her? and without a child she cannot get welfare. will her family continue to support her financially? maybe she will find some fool to get her preggers but i doubt that. who would want to be associated with her now? Caylee is in a better place now, just think what abuse she might have had to endure had she lived. casey's life may end up being a living hell forever. that would be worse than what caylee and george and lee have gone through. no respect for cindy at all.

      July 5, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • mel6291

      if she believed someone else killed her child why hasn' she said so already? it's been 3 years. why should she waste any energy looking for the phantom killer? she's free to live her life now. she does NOT care! let's see how her life goes now!

      July 5, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Snoprinz

    The jurors sat in court, closed their minds and collected taxpayers money. I believe common sense is not too common in that part of Florida. Caylee's killer is still out there.

    July 5, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tammy M

    A Liar does not make a murderer! Good thing you weren't on the jury!

    July 5, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • mel6291

      she was facing the death penalty and did not take the stand to defend herself. i would. wouldn;t you? think about it. i would scream and scream that i was innocent. but people who are guilty just wait and see what happens. they don't try to defend themselves, they let someone else do it and believe it will work. and in this case ,as in so many others, it did. they believed from the get go that they could get away with their actions and no worries. all of these psychopathic liars were absolutely right.

      July 5, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. No More Nancy

    Goodbye Nancy Grace. I suspect you will be looking for work once Anthony sues you. It hasn't been nice knowing you.

    July 5, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Snoprinz

    The jurors do not want to speak to the media because they cannot justify their verdict. They sat in court, closed their minds and colloected taxpayers money.

    July 5, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Zech

    If she drowned, why was there no swimsuit???? Why was she hidden for 31 days???? Why was there duct tape residue on her mouth and chin???? Why did the trunk smell like rotten flesh????? Why was grandma trying to cover for Casey???? Why wasnt Casey on the stand????? Why was she held without bail???? Why did mommy wait to spill the beans untill there was nothing left but very little flesh and mostly bones???? How does it go from possible death penalty to not guilty???? How much money did the jury make on the side from the defense???? Why was the defense confident enough to reserve an entire restaurant for celebration before the fact???? Why why why why why??????????????????????...................all seems pretty shady to me.

    July 5, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • FU

      Are you all really that stupid?!

      Lemme splain you how da jusice sistem werkx~~ Yous needs pruvabul factses so peeples don git conbiteded buy yo ignorant opinionses.

      DMF!

      July 5, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. the-justice-system-is-flawed

    Although I do NOT believe in the Death Penalty....Everyone Failed Caylee Marie Anthony...."There is something wrong here"your not kidding...people doing non-violent crimes do more time then murders,rapists,pedophiles....wake up America ....What about the charging her with undue care of a body after death?The State failed and yes all of us failed that little girl as a whole in society....Maybe Casey will get a nice daycare job or hit the bars this weekend for a hot body contest when she gets out....and What What did this teach our young people watching all this?Lie Lie Lie and Lie some more because you can get away with it............Disgusting

    July 5, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • FU

      So is yo mama, stoopid.
      Seriously?!!

      July 5, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MildlyMisanthropic

    Much is being made over the jury not making a statement. I wasn't aware they owed the media, or anyone else, anything other than a verdict. They chose not to make a statement. So what? Countless juries present verdicts every day and don't make statements to the media or anyone else. And as for "leaving town" ... Duh, they were pulled from Tampa because of all of the coverage of the case. Of course they left town. They want to go home, and they live in another town.

    Also, you'll have to bear with me, I am not an "experienced courtroom watcher" as so many others appear to be. In fact, I have stayed away from this pseudo-story like the plague. But from what I've read on CNN.com, it doesn't appear as though the prosecution was able to prove a cause of death or any physical link to Caylee Anthony's body. Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck might be enough in the court of public opinion, but in a court of law it is simply insufficient evidence for a capital murder case.

    July 5, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      Duh! It was not just Capital punishment. They had the option to nail her on manslaughter. That was so obvious. There are so many stupid people in the world it is not surprising they got her off scott free.

      July 5, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sonia

      Mildly:

      The prosecution DID NOT prove its case "beyond a reasonable doubt." I am profoundly saddened and my heart is torn apart that Caylee Anthony was not vindicated. May God do justice on Casey and whoever assisted her in her cover up of Caylee's death. I believe that it WAS an accident. What was/is wrong is the cover up and particularly for 31 days and then, the little angel's remains were found in a swamp. The Anthonys will all live with the death of Caylee and her memory, even for the unfeeling, soulless and unscrupulous Casey, will be haunted with her memory. Casey will see Caylee's face and hear her voice everywhere she is or goes. THAT is her justice. I believe that she should be sterilized so that she can never have another child again. She does not deserve that privilege!

      July 5, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cheksea In Milwaukee

    All i have to say is WOW, who would have thought that casey anthony would walk I am in total disbelief...this "creature" is getting away with murder, she doesnt even even deserve being called a woman because a woman and a mother has compassion which CLEARLY this "creature" has none of. WHAT were these Jurors thinking?!?!?! well all I can say is that the defence provided what they needed QUESTION/resonable doubt but where was the whole picture instead of disussing the "stains" in her trunk...now the real question is is the "real" murderer going to be found or is this going to be put into one of thoes file boxes put in the back to get dusty...i am truly discusted with our justice system today...you jurors should be ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES instead of thinking about the whole picture worring about your vacations and time off work i truely hope that this verdict rides heavily on your shoulders FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIVES! whether she gets justice in this life of the next karma WILL catch up with her. The sad part is that as she goes out and celebrates getting away with murder we as tax payers will pay for her "protection" poor little calyee <3 <3 you are in a better place with mother-like figures in heaven who will take better care of you then that "creature" ever could have

    July 5, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Justice where are you?

    Hey all young parents out there that are tired of dealing with their kids, just do what Casey did and you can get away with murder. How they were able to say that the B**** was innocent i will never know. The founders of our justice system are rolling in their graves tonight. This whole case proves without a doubt that the American justice system is a JOKE!! But on the bright side maybe the jury was hoping for some good old fashioned vigilante justice. I can see the headlines now: Tot mom's body found. and hopefully in the same swamp where they found Caylee. If i were her i would be very careful about going out and being a partying S*** from now on.

    July 5, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Teresa Bryan

    Unfortunately, most jurors do not have the intellectual capabilities to process the evidence presented in court. To prove how this child died was an impossibility because of the decomposition that occurred, as she was thrown in the woods like garbage and eaten by animals. Think about that~ could there be ANYTHING more horrific than that? Why so many lies? Why would a mother hinder an investigation to find her missing child? You need a calculator to count the lies Casey Anthony told. Who does that? For those of you who buy into the accidental drowning claim, aren't you just a little disturbed that she threw her baby in the woods and went to a party? Well, I am.

    July 5, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
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