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. Mariah

    First time I saw "REAL" tears from Casey today as the verdict was read........real tears due to her knowing she got away with murder!

    July 5, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Anna

    It would have been more interesting if Casey had eaten the body.

    July 5, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Betty

    I have a daughter about Caylee's age. Sometimes I dream of killing her, but I would never do it.

    July 5, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Greg

    OJ and Casey should hook up, conceive a child, then abort it for sport.

    July 5, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Allison

    I watched most of the trial, and I agree with the verdict. But even if Casey was convicted of murder, she certainly does not deserve life imprisonment or death, maybe five years and some reform.

    July 5, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • paula

      At the end of your statement, didn't you mean to say ..."All Casey needs is some Chloroform?"

      July 5, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Debra

    What a shame about our justice system! OJ got his day finally..........Casey will get hers..........she will have to stand before God one day........can't get away with lies there!

    July 5, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. paula

    I wonder if Scott Peterson is jealous?

    July 5, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Defamation

    Defamation—also called calumny, vilification, traducement, slander (for transitory statements), and libel (for written, broadcast, or otherwise published words)—is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government, or nation a negative image. It is usually a requirement that this claim be false and that the publication is communicated to someone other than the person defamed (the claimant).[1]

    In common law jurisdictions, slander refers to a malicious, false,[2][not specific enough to verify] and defamatory spoken statement or report, while libel refers to any other form of communication such as written words or images.[3] Most jurisdictions allow legal actions, civil and/or criminal, to deter various kinds of defamation and retaliate against groundless criticism. Related to defamation is public disclosure of private facts, which arises where one person reveals information that is not of public concern, and the release of which would offend a reasonable person. "Unlike [with] libel, truth is not a defense for invasion of privacy."[4][not verified in body]

    False light laws are "intended primarily to protect the plaintiff's mental or emotional well-being."[5] If a publication of information is false, then a tort of defamation might have occurred. If that communication is not technically false but is still misleading, then a tort of false light might have occurred.[5]

    In most civil law jurisdictions, defamation is dealt with as a crime rather than a tort.[6]

    A person who destroys another's reputation may be referred to as a famacide, defamer, or slanderer. The Latin phrase famosus libellus means a libelous writing.

    July 5, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Debra

    There is nothing simple about it! Our system of justice has marred our state! The jurors are horrific! They should be thrown in another country!! Open your eyes!!! The evidence was there! Now Casey will make millions telling lies to write books, etc.... whatever she wants. Gee....something is wrong with this entire picture of justice!!

    July 5, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Snoprinz

    A lot of defendants have gotten away with a guilty verdict because of this so-called "reasonable doubt". Why don't we have common sense instead. Jury selection in this country must ber changed so that only people who are smart and have no prior convictions must sit as jurors. I heard that some of the jurors in this case have felonies and that is very disturbing. This was such a waste of my tax money.

    July 5, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • 13thJurer

      @ Snoprinz
      "only allow smart jurors" - what criteria would you use to pick a "smart" juror? Color of skin? Height? Weight? Would a fat person be denied for being to stupid to stay thin? Who would be the "decider"? Bush claimed he was the "decider" – would we need him? Would you be the decider?

      How many degrees – 2, 3, 4?? Would you test us like a session of "Jeopardy"? Most states prevent felons from voting or sitting on a jury - did you know that? We don't even know the jurors names, much less about how "smart" they are." How "smart" are you? Do you have a Ph.D? MS? BS? AS? Any college courses? How about your SAT scores? What kind of education - science, law, medicine, manufacturing, sales, architecture engineering or computer science? Did you know that engineers and computer scientists are always tossed by the lawyers? They DO NOT want "logical" persons on a jury since we all think "logically" and not based on our emotions. We are tossed because we ask too many questions and try to create a logical process of decision making. I have been tossed from 3 juries because I have an MS in Math.

      The jurors followed the LAW - not their emotions or anger. This was their job, as instructed by the judge. If you cannot follow the judge's instruction, then you cannot be on a jury. Could you do that???

      July 5, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. George Vreeland Hill

    What I don't get about the Casey Anthony trial is this ...
    Casey was found guilty of lying (covering up the crime), but she was found NOT guilty of what she covered up.
    I wonder if her friends were on the jury.

    George Vreeland Hill

    July 5, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Abby

    I think today is a victory for the judicail system. Because the system exactly as it should have worked. Ans it is also a tragedy for this same system. Becasuse we now know the system is flawed and SHE BEAT THE SYSTEM.

    July 5, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judith

      The judicial system has failed us all! Does this now mean that we can now accidentally kill our children? skip the cost of a funeral? and just bury them in our backyards or down the street in the woods? and then lie to family, friends and detectives for six months about the whereablouts of our child while the body and all the DNA deteriorates?

      And what about the jury, does the state now have to pay for a special witness protection program for jurors??

      What has this country come to??? I am so disgusted. I wept for poor little Caylee today when the verdict was read. I have absolutely no faith in our judicial system anymore.

      July 6, 2011 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
    • anoledihard

      It's a joke, all these, so-called-lawyers! Even more laughable are the showtime-doctors insisting Casey is a sociopath, but they've never even spoken to her. How do these idiots get on Nancy Grace?
      The jury was right: there's no evidence proving Casey did anything except lie. And unless Nancy Grace was hiding behind a tree and saw the crime take place, she hasn't a clue what happened.
      N.G. has made Kaylee's death a media-circus-event, and now she wants to blame the jury for a wrong verdict. There was a time I thought Nancy's show was a way to learn something. I was wrong.

      July 6, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  13. George Vreeland Hill

    Why did she wait 31 days to report her daughter missing?
    ?????????????????????

    GEORGE VREELAND HILL

    July 5, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • anoledihard

      Maybe there was a babysitter. Maybe Casey figured her daughter was being watched and took advantage of it to go out. Maybe, when she went for her daughter the babysitter had moved. Now she has to tell G-mom and G-paw something. So she lied. Oops that lie didn't work, so she told another to not get in trouble. Casey does have mental problems and I'm sure everybody knows she needs help.
      The point is, the DA didn't have a clue, and tried to hang Casey for whatever they could. What a shame. They used people's dislike of her, to get a guilty verdict instead of finding facts.

      July 6, 2011 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
  14. Rosalyn Lavasseur

    What better way to reward a pathological liar than to pat her on the back "good job." A little girl's remains (after the animals were finished) are six feet deep – when she should be buying school clothes for her first year in school. Now Casey could stand in front of all the media and tell us what she really did to her and no one can do a thing about it.
    She will get her reward....

    July 5, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • anoledihard

      That is, if she's guilty. You only have a dislike of her to base your anger on. Where are the facts? How do you know she killed her daughter? Because you think she did? Because you can't get answers to Kaylee's death you'll just say she did it? Thank goodness your not on the jury. Sounds like you hang people for looking cross-eyed at you. Get the facts mame before taking sides. A rotton personality does not make you a killer! Even if Nancy Grace says it does.

      July 6, 2011 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  15. Dissapointed

    Reasonable doubt does not apply to the Higher Power. When she meets her maker JUSTICE WILL BE DONE! I am ok to not having to witness that one. I do feel for her parents and her brother though. Innocent or not, she is the cause of a rift in the the family and she will definitely have to answer for that as well!

    July 5, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
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