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. guilty

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!???? ITS UNFORTUNATE THAT WE STILL IN A WORLD WHERE EVERY LITTLE THING IS TAKEN INTO PERSPECTIVE AND WE STILL GET IT WRONG!!!! THESE JURORS SHOULD ALL BE ON TRIAL FOR MURDER,,, BUT WAIT.. THEY WOULD GET AWAY WITH IT TOO... GOD BLESS THAT LITTLE GIRL,!!!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. find the real killer

    They done a poor poor job in the investigation in finding the real killer... they shouldnt of went with what they "thought" was how all of this happend! if they would of looked at every side of the square and investigated like they should have and not let so much media attention out there maybe they could have found out what really happend.

    This country is a poor exscuse to get such entertainment in a death, that the media even goes from calling someone a murder then calls them a celeberty! sad world!

    July 5, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. fredd volvo

    I think that atty Mason hit the nail on the head – The media should be ashamed of themselves for their overt bias in their entire coverage of the case , and every other cause that they cover – And, after watching her (self appointed) majesty Nancy Grace tonight, it will not rest for a long time. Based on how she conducts herself on TV, it is little wonder that she was not in her profession as a prosecutor for too long. A show that parades lawyers in front of the public with little regard other than to confirm Nancy's opinion, is appalling – They sound like a bunch of screaming Wrestling Announcers. The only difference between this programming and Jerry Springer is the time of day and the lack of bouncers. And based on the threats that came out today – they are appealing to the double Digit IQ crowd who need to study for blood tests. – Take note HLN – we are starting to find FOX more interesting – That is something I never ever expected. The level of respect that you conger up is the same as the National Enquirer. I admit I watch, but for nothing other than contrast and entertainment – Certainly not for intellectual reasons. – Oh Yes – Remember INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY – I guess that only counts for the jury, not the media..

    July 5, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheebeLou

      Nancy Grace hasn't given up. I thought for sure it was obvious (in the beginning) that Casey was indeed guilty ... right up until the testimony of Kronk. After that, I knew there was no 100% belief that Casey killed Caylee. That left a huge hole in the case and many questions. These jurors can go home, look themselves in the mirror and sleep soundly they didn't put a non-guilty person to death. Baez came through ... shocks me too.

      July 5, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. kj

    they should charge cindy with purgery.. she lied on the stand.. i believe casey had something to do with this.. the LEAST would be manslaughter.. but nope.. maybe the jurors were not that bright.. after all a few do not even have an education and a few were arrested and not that good of a pool to pull from..

    July 5, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Courtney

    They better give her a hysterectomy before she gets out of jail. This is just freaking CRAP. A beautiful little girl gone and a psyco gets to go free and live her life in full. Very very disappointed right now.

    July 5, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ddavel544

    Shocked beyond belief!!....The entire family is clearly involved! If the child "drowned" and with all the modern forensics there are ...why didn't the jury question the autopsy results?...Why did her mother spray the vehicle with Fabreeze and also placed fabric softener dryer sheets in the car, prior to police investigators arrival?...Why is testimony not questioned in regards to Casey's general demeanor during the time of her "missing" daughter?? Why did her mother claim to do a search info on the Internet about chloroform, right around the time her grand-daughter goes "missing"?!!? What the hell is wrong with this "jury"....did they all just want to go home ??!..........There are just far too many 'why's' that where not answered!!

    July 5, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tammy Nelson

    OK HLN STAFF–MANY, MANY OF US WOULD LIKE TO KNOW HOW CONVICTED CRIMINALS CANNOT HOLD GOVRNMENT JOBS, BUT ARE STILL ABLE/QUALIFIED TO SERVE ON A JURY FOR THE MURDER OF A CHILD???!!!! ALSO, FOR THE JURORS THAT APPLY TO THE ABOVE, WHY DID THE JUDGE ALLOW THEM TO BE CHOSEN WHEN THE PROSECUTORS DENIED THESE JURORS??????!!!!!!!!! CONVICTED CRIMINALS ARE ALREADY BIASED AGAINST OUR JUDICIAL SYSTEM & THIS WAS A WAY FOR THEM TO GET THEIR REVENGE AGAINST THE SAME SYSTEM THAT CONVICTED THEM!!!!!! AM I THE ONLY PERSON THAT SEES THIS???!!! MANY PEOPLE AGREED W/ME ON FACEBOOK ON YOUR HLN SITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Scott

    Why all the fuss over this anyways. Obviously She was Pro Choice and Chose the right to kill her baby as millions of other mothers do. This is just one more victim of a mother being Pro Choice and getting away with it.

    July 5, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Wendy

    I would like to remind everyone that innocent people are convicted all the time for crimes they did not commint but on the flip side people go free for their crimes too, like O.J Simpson. What I found completely and totally distribing is she is so cold and emotionless. To bad the courts could not order her to never be able to produce another child! I hope KARMA comes around 50 times worst for the person or persons responsible for taking a Sweet and Innocent Baby Doll life. May God watch over this now Beautiful Angel Caylee and love her like she should have been here on earth. .

    July 5, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Steele

    Making her debut at Klub KillMyKid Its Casey Anthony!! If your tired of being a parent and want a carefree single life? Then come on down to Klub KillMyKid Where you can learn how to lie to the police, Accuse innocent people of kidnapping your child and of course..BODYSHOTS and Wet Tshirt contest all night long, As an added bonus you can attend the FREE "How to make Chloroform and knock your kid out" seminar Plus have a meet and greet with the "No Balls" jury all happening at Klub KillMyKid!! Mention this ad and you'll be found NOT GUILTY at YOUR next trial!!

    July 5, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. RN

    Didn't Casey admit to being with Caylee when Caylee died? She said she drowned in the pool. Wasn't she watching her? And she didn't do anything but dispose of her? Isn't that child neglect or abuse?!! What more proof of that do they need? I think the jury wanted to get home...the trial lasted too long and they were tired.

    July 5, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. darl

    I HOPE THAT NANCY WASTE GETS THE CRAP SUED OUT OF HER FOR THE CONTINUED DEFAMATION THAT SHE CONTINUES TO DO. THE CASE IS OVER, BE DONE WITH IT AND GET OVER IT!! SHAME ON YOU HLN FOR KEEPING THIS CRAP GOING. HOPE CASEY GETS HER MILLIONS FROM YOU!!! HOPE NANCY NO LONGER HAS A SHOW ONCE THIS IS ALL SAID AND DONE AND THEN SHE CAN NEVER DO THIS INJUSTICE TO SOMEONE ELSE!

    July 5, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marguerite

      I sure hope you never feel the loss of a child or anyone else you love at the hand of a murderer! Nancy Grace may have passion but she is entirely correct about Casey Anthony! I am a mother of 3 and grandmother of 6 and my heart hurts for Caylee Anthony. You cannot throw your child in the swamp and expect anyone with a heart to feel anything but contempt for you!! Casey I will pray you never have the chance to harm another child! Your soul is in God's hands.

      July 5, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • m

      I think Nancy is over the top too. She's still harping over it and I was thinking slander also....

      July 5, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • babetoo

      nancy grace is a disgrace to the legal profession. she distorts the facts and presents her opinion as fact. nothing will happen to her though, freedom of the press. she is just made because the jury did not agree with her majesty grace. at this moment on t.v. she is suggesting the jury was a bunch of unlawful people. the jury decides the verdict in our system and thank goodness, nancy grace does not.

      July 5, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Steve In Ala

    The one consistent thing in this case is Nancy Grace still has never met anyone charged with a crime who she didn't think was guilty. For someone who says she respects the jury system, it's an awful shame that she doesn't respect INNOCENT TILL PROVEN GUILTY. Luckily for America, Nancy will have many more disappointments and innocent people will continue to be found that way.

    July 5, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • darl

      YEP, ABOUT TIME SOMEONE PUTS A STOP TO HER CRAP!!!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Shocked

    I have never posted on a blog before but certainly felt compelled to do so today. I have carefully watched testimony each and every day, fascinated that a defendant could be caught on tape and film consistently lying day after day when knowing full well her daughter was dead. She purposely misled police, her family, friends and an entire community that was committed to finding her all the while playing house with her boyfriend, spending money that she stole, and basically ignoring the fact that she even HAD a daughter, let alone trying to find her. I am so very disappointed in the justice system.......the jurors took few notes, deliberated for a relatively short time without asking for any clarification of evidence presented, terms used, or points of law that may have been confusing to them. I deplore how I feel coming away from hearing the verdict.....disillusioned in the system of justice and totally disgusted with the methods used to redirect blame everywhere else but to the person who was responsible for Caylee, was the last person to see Caylee, and the only person who didn't show any desire to find Caylee. How very sad.

    July 5, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • FU

      how stupid do you have to be to think that's all it takes to convict someone of murder?

      July 5, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • m

      no matter what....there was just not enough evidence to find her guilty...proof is what they needed and they had no proof... they couldn't even prove how she died...yeah she lied and stole.... but proven her to be a murder is a totally different thing...

      July 5, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Greg

    Nancy Grace is disgusting. She believes she can say anything she wants and for some reason, CNN supports her!!

    July 5, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • darl

      LOOKS LIKE WE ALL NEED TO STOP WATCHING CNN AND HLN AT THIS POINT TO PROVE THAT WE ARE SICK OF THEIR LIES

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

      I've burnt out on Nancy Grace years ago. She has turned her show into a cheap tabloid, constantly harping and repeating crap, and using low blatant sensationalism. I used to like her, but after she had her twins she went over the deep end and cheapened her show. Actually ... may have been before when she kept going on and on with every unessential blow of Anna Nicole's death.

      July 5, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
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