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. Joan Stroud

    This case has shown that there are major flaws in the judicial system. Some people would have us believe that Casey is not guilty. When there is a body of a child left in a dump, showing homicide and she was in her mothers care, I certainly think that the jury had blinders on. I sure hope that any civil suits that are filed against her will use up any money that she will make after the death of her child. Just think...she will make money off the death of her child and not even have to lie about it like she did lying about her jobs for 2 years. I really think Cindy and George had blinders on and were afraid that Casey would take Caylee and leave as so many other grandparents are trying to deal with. Please people, remember that if a child has a baby, it is her responsibility to raise her. She should have been living on her own with Caylee and accepting the true responsibility.

    July 5, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Snoprinz

    No justice for Caylee! We will never find justice for her especially if we have jurors like the ones in this trial.

    July 5, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judith

      I fully agree!!!
      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 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dave C.

    Absolutely amazing. Did they import the O.J. jury for this trial?

    July 5, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • anoledihard

      Naw! There's just enough 'fact-seeking people' left in this world to make a difference. You can't dispute DNA, as in O.J.'s trial, which proved either he wasn't there, or cops transfered blood, and you can't vote guilty on shabby, evidence that proves nothing. Thank God for that!

      July 6, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  4. Abby

    She is not going to jail. But she didn't get away with it either. Life on hte outside will be just as much hell for her as if she got jailed.

    July 5, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Barb A

    I am so happy that Cindy SWORE to tell the truth, the whole truth, and NOTHING but the truth..."SO HELP ME GOD"!!! Enabling a creature such as Casey in the past...and continuing to do so during this trial is the reason why Caylee did not get the justice she deserves!!! The Anthony household will have their day with our maker...hopefully sooner than later....look at O.J. Simpson!

    July 5, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • anoledihard

      Kaylee already has her justice. If Casey's guilty, God knows, and if she is not guilty, God knows. We need to stop making judgements about things we know nothing about. And not judge others even when we know the facts. Judging belongs to the one upstairs. When it says, "Remove the rafter from your own eye before trying to take the straw from your brothers eye," you do know what that means, don't you?

      July 6, 2011 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  6. poorlit'lgirl

    SO SORRY CAYLEE

    July 5, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joanne

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^l |^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^| |P
    | ♥~♥ NO JUSTICE FOR CAYLEE MARIE, ♥~♥ ||”"”;..\___.
    |……__________________________________l _||__|…, ]P
    “(@)’(@)”""""""*l'(@)l'(@)l """"""""""""""(@)'(@)"""""""'(@)
    Copy and Paste ... Keep this Convoy Going..

    July 6, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  8. Julie

    There is no doubt that Casey was guilty as charged. The prosecution did the best they could with what they had. There is probably a lot of other evidence that could not be presented in court because our judicial system would not allow it. Sad, because no justice was done here. The jury CLEARLY did not take the time to review the evidence available to them in the jury room. They just couldn't wait to get out of there. There is no justification for finding Casey not-guilty. Clearly there was not a shred of common sense between the jurors. Who would take an accident and turn it into a Capital Murder case? What fools. They did not want a media appearance today, but I am sure they will all turn up on TV when they can collect a payout for doing so. A baby murderer will walk out of jail on Thursday. My sympathy to George and Cindy. Nice people who didn't deserve this.

    July 6, 2011 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sad

    Professional jurors are what's needed. The defense spent good money on a consultant to help pick the right jurors. Throw in a decent defense attorney. Throw in a defendant who is a sociopath (look up the definition), but these jurors don't get that, so they successfully fall victim to Baez's smoke and mirrors, ridiculous as it seemed to real analytic thinkers. Throw in a grandmother who is willing to commit perjury. Why not try to save your daughter, who's been successfully pulling your strings for years, even from jail. Add a dash of "we've been stuck and sequestered for two holidays.....let's get a move on". It had all the signs of a crap outcome. But guess what people, we can put our actions where our mouths are. Don't ever hire her. Don't pass her on the street without reminding her she killed her daughter. She should be reminded of this every day of her life.

    July 6, 2011 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
    • anoledihard

      Who made you God? Who are you to go around and destroy anyone's life? You sound like those gossipers who like to start crap, and they have no idea what happened, then stand back and watch who it destroys.. Unless you hid behind a tree and saw the whole thing happen, you don't have a clue. Although you might think you're the Almighty, I got news for you. What you're suggesting people do to Casey is exactly what evil is.

      July 6, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  10. Barb A

    Well, somehow this slipped through the cracks and noone ever picked up on it....Casey (or was it "Cindy") were searching for homemade weapons....remember when Casey was "soon to get the house that George & Cindy owned" and her friend was going to move in with her???? Casey's searches for homemade weapons.... Could it be that was for George & Cindy???? Did they escape with the skin of their teeth when Casey was arrested??? Well, maybe their day is coming! Too bad Cindy won't be around to lie for Casey again !!!

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

      So what! I searched the net for a dog. I wanted a German Sheperd.. Even got a rifle to back my dog up if someone should decide to pay me an unwelcome visit. Does that make me the killer of someone? No it doesn't. Were's the proof, even if Casey was looking? You can say it sounds funny, but unless you can prove that her motive was to kill her child, you have no ground to stand-on.

      July 6, 2011 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jesse

    I don't know how anyone can think that Casey is innocent. Watch the entire trial. And read and listen to the evidence available. She is guilty. Any doubt would disappear if you read all of the evidence available and posted on line. Now she'll be free to continue to destroy what is left of her parent's relationship and their relationship with Lee.

    July 6, 2011 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  12. kyle britt

    Beyond Doubt!!

    Will not bring Caylee back!

    Injustuice may be served, but assumed guilt will not rule either.

    July 6, 2011 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  13. Janette

    Well Well, now the TOTAL SHOCK has left (somewhat) I'll comment of the free green light ticket our justice system has given Casey. I did not believe they showed premeditated murder, yet with all the lies told, her life lived after, and the taped calls and visits showing her with no emotion for Caylee only herself, they did show, criminal negligent homicide. But NO, 12 people who after being locked up (per-say) for 2 mos. wanted to RE-UNIT with their families more than sit down and really look at the evidence without distraction, voted she is guilty of nothing more than 4 counts of misdemeanor charges of lying to the law. She has learned nothing of her wrong doing and the law has but honored her in her lying and telling her to advance (go forth) with the rest of your life lying your way through. Your lies will always be your ticket out of whatever you do.

    Where is the justice for the victim! For Caylee!!!

    July 6, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Janette

      re-unit = re-united

      July 6, 2011 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  14. SB

    Any reaction from the right-wing vitriolic self-appointed Queen of judgement Nancy Grace yet?

    July 6, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. 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 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 12:22 am | Report abuse |
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