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. jamie

    I cannot understand how the state of Florida can find the only 12 people who have been living under a rock the past 3 years. That poor lil baby lost her life by the only person in this world that was suppost to protect her! Murder or not under her watch her baby ended up in a trash bag and in a swamp. How the hell is that not a least child neglect? When this story broke my oldest was barely over 1 and I would look at her and think if she was unaccounted for for 31 SECONDS I would be in panic! That cold callous woman should never see the light of day!

    July 6, 2011 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Kaitlyn

      Jamie,
      Yes, totally agree, they found the only 12 people in the state of Florida that STILL thinks the world is flat! May they and Casey take a horrific fall off the edge of it. OH....ease their pain first...Choroform them and duck tape their mouths SHUT except in the reverse order!

      July 6, 2011 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  2. fred

    Thanks Cindy for helping your daughter get away with murder. If you didnt scrub that car clean, wash those clothes, change your stories, get George to change what he smelled and commit perjury when you took the stand, Casey would have never gotten away with it. Great Job, you should be proud of yourself! time for champagne?
    No Justice for Caylee......

    July 6, 2011 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
  3. fred

    also, why were they allowed to use the oj jurors for this trial? common sense has left the station.

    July 6, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  4. karen ross

    One thing that was not allowed in to court that I believe was important were the text messages between Casey and her boyfriend before Caylee's. There were a series of conversations where Tony Lazaro told Casey that he was not sure he wanted a girlfriend he could never see. She would make plans with him but not be able to see him because of keeping Caylee. It was reported that she really liked this man. This could be seen as same motivation that we saw in Susan Smith trial.

    July 6, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bobby

    I can concede that murder 1 was not possible based on the evidence. What people are failing to acknowledge here is the following two things:
    1. The defense lawyer said in an interview when asked "if she didn't do it, then who did"...he said is was "an accident that snowballed out of control"...so he KNOWS who was involved enough for the death of that little girl...and that includes his client.
    2. The jury DIDN'T do their job because not having enough evidence to put her to death does NOT mean you acquit her off ALL charges. She exhibited enough behavior to be neglectful...and therefor should have at the very least been found guilty on the neglect/abuse charges.

    Finally, I hope that a aunt or uncle takes her to civil court so that they can find her guilty there...so that she can't go hit the TV interview circuit, write a book, etc. and just clean up financially on a murder every intelligent person on this planet we all know she committed.

    July 6, 2011 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. helen

    i have been following this case since the beginning and i am amazed at the comments of the cnn people after the verdict. almost all had casey convicted from day i, and i think nancy grace and vinnie are two of the worst. i used to respect and like watching the nancy grace show but since she started coverage of this case she seems to lose all prespective, she would ask a guest lawyer a question and then shout them down or shut off their mike if she didnt like their reponse. yes, it is a tragedy that caylee is dead but it is not an injustice that casey was convicted, the prosecutors just didnt do their jjob and i feel the entire anthony family knows so much more then they will admit to.

    July 6, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. sad

    What part of "Homicide" as manner of death listed on the medical examiner's report did the jury not understand.

    July 6, 2011 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. dee

    Let's see....Casey had admitted to friends she had used things like Benadryl to put Caylee to sleep while she partied, computer searches were done under her sign-on name for "how to make chloroform" then the searcher would jump to "myspace" (Cindy admitted early on she knew nothing about "myspace", and records show that she was indeed at work doing patient computer charting during those searches at her house)...Casey's boyfriend had sent her a text on either Facebook or Myspace saying "win her over with chloroform". Casey was the last one seen with Caylee, she asks a neighbor to borrow a shovel, she takes off for a month, abandons her car because "it ran out of gas". At least 4 people say the trunk had the smell of a dead body, the cadaver dog positively "hits" on the car's trunk, she parties and sleeps around for 30 days following Caylee's "disappearance" and only admits to her missing when her mother tracks her down. She makes up lies about a nanny kidnapping her. On the jailhouse tapes she laughs it off when her mother says the media thinks Caylee may have drowned. Casey tells her Dad on Jailhouse tapes that he is a great father and grandfather (later says he molested her but no proof of that). Casey is the only one who would have had access to the duct tape, laundry bag, Caylee's clothes and winnie the pooh blanket that was found with the body, but there is no solid evidence????????? And why wasn't Casey charged with obstruction of justice, leading the police on all the wild goosechases?

    July 6, 2011 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
  9. dclucky1

    I know we are supposed to believe in our judicial system, however, a serious misjustice was handed down today. Maybe we should put an eye or an eye in place and maybe people will think twice about crime!!! Casey Anthony will now have to answer to God for what she did.

    July 6, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  10. bill clinton

    she is guilty!
    she murdered her own child
    and!!!!
    then went partying!
    someone please put a hit out on her!
    kill the beatch!

    July 6, 2011 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. john smith

    I'm happy for casey, i believe she is not guilty. All the people that are talking sh** about her go find yourselves something to do. It's impossible that she would murder her child

    July 6, 2011 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  12. radar love

    nancy grace is a media s * l * u * t w _ h * 0 * R _ e!
    somebody please put out a hit on her and caylee!
    please!
    nobody will miss those 2!nobody!

    July 6, 2011 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Franck

      Nancy Grace is a disgrace to all of what CNN stands for.
      I do not get while the channel hasn't let go of her yet....
      As for the case itself, my feeling is that she probably did it but the prosecution couldn't prove that beyond a reasonable doubt and that is the bottom of the case. You can not convict people based on a hunch, you need evidence and the evidence was very slim in this case... It's kinda hard to condemn someone for murder when for example you don't even know the cause of death...

      July 6, 2011 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
  13. Danelle

    I cannot believe they found 12 people who actually think she is innocent. It won't be long until they see the true Casey. She will be out partying, making money from the media, never working (since no one will hire her...oh wait she could never keep a job anyway) and living the life she always wanted without sweet Caylee. This is absolutely disturbing and I hope the jury and defense team realizes this. May God be her judge-I hope you can handle the heat, Casey!

    July 6, 2011 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. Philip Porembski

    People are not the reason their in jail for breaking the law the law is the reason people are in jail for breaking the law.
    bwahaaha, than wanna talk about dissapointed like the entire globe doesnt know whats going on & feels the same thing i do, 'you must be in a diff reality for it' haha thanks people love ya for that, we all know about it too why would we even cal them pigs this and that lol , and act like were not conscious like they act hahaha

    July 6, 2011 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  15. Fred Mat SR

    How can anybody judge the verdict in the Casey Anthony case? Were they in the court room every day? While I think she is guilty I did not hear word for word of the testimony. The poeple on the jury did hear every word and saw all of the evidence. It is easy to criticize the verdict. Until you face a trial like this, don't criticise the jury.

    July 6, 2011 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
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