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. Marie

    Wasn't Scott Peterson convicted with far less evidence?

    July 6, 2011 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ninja

    Okay so let me get this straight...that lady went out partying, drinking, and clubbing, all while her 2 year old daughter was dead in a trash can with duct tape over her mouth And nose and was dead for a MONTH and the lady didn't tell the police? So that little two year old girls coffin was a frikken TRASH BAG. What was that I saw about MOVING ON? Well Caylee can't move on can she? No. She was murdered by her freaking MOTHER. and the mother was found not guilty....this is bull crap...

    July 6, 2011 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Brandonsaunti

      Well hi Nancy has done a fabulous job and caylee is just with so many lies and thinks of just herself there is no justice for poor caylee . Casey can't even think about caylee because even if we go by her so called story and caylee drowned why in the world would anyone party for 31 days and tell the police all the wrong places to look if she docent want them to find caylee till the animals get to her first before they can get any evidence on her she deserves nothing for throwing her baby on the side of the road like liter trash no one buys a book or watches movie or talk show to make her rich off her little girls death I hope please give that much of justice

      July 6, 2011 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
    • justice was served

      wow your an idiot...no really you are... what did she murder caylee with...a gun... a knife. did she poison her did she sufficate her.? you don't know!!!! so stfu muderer this and murderer that.... do you absolutely believe that casey.... was strong enough to lift the log that was partially covering the bag...or like jose beaz said she was 22 and stupid enough to leave the body 15 feet from a road but was smart enough to out smart the greatest crime lab in the world!!!!????

      July 6, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. Marie

    So the cadaver dogs that hit on the car trunk were all corrupt?

    July 6, 2011 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  4. JUSTICE

    COUPLE THINGS HERE: All we can hope for now.

    1. Justice was not served here, but she will before God.
    2. She will have to live with this. Her conscience will not let her live. She won't be liked by 99.99% of America.
    3. I hope the prosecuted team finds more evident or someone breaks silence.

    July 6, 2011 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  5. ascheer

    Newsflash Charles Manson was convicted on no physical evidence linking him to victims I guess these jurors would think he accidentally told his followers to kill those people. I have no sympathy for Cindy now. I now see why her child grew up to be a sociopath. She once again rescued Casey from her consequencs. The only one I can remotely feel sorry for is George, and he is the supposed molester out of the bunch. Its obvious that the theme of the day is STUPIDITY. The Anthony family did not protect this little girl in life and they certainly did not defend her in death. They deserve to reap that which they have sewn. None of them deserved that little girl. And at the end of all this ignorance the fact that a small defenseless child was cruelly murdered will elude this dysfunctional family. They will take her back in the family fold,they made her. I just wonder how well its gonna go over when Casey gets mad at Cindy and jabs the sword in her and tells her its her fault for angering her and driving her to kill Kaylee. She feels justified and emboldened for getting away with it. She wont be able to help herself but to inflict pain with this knowledge. All I can say is Cindy helped get her off, Take your evil seed home with you, And jose baez needs to marry her and see if he wants to spit some kids out with her. Stick that in your BLAH BLAH BAEZ.

    July 6, 2011 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. Lucy

    There is something fishy between Casey and Jose, she caressed his face and the glances they made to each other are so obvious. I believe there was more at stake than was let known. Inappropriate behavior between client and attorney?

    July 6, 2011 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
  7. john

    How may I ask someone get a tattoo right after her daughter's disappearance "beautiful life" when her little child was lost?
    No there is so much holes in this story....and justice was NOT serve today. Our judicial system failed once more. Our judicial system let one more child down I am sorry to say. And we as a nation are shocked to have witness such an event.

    http://www.zazzle.com/53_chevy_mug-168234291316362307

    July 6, 2011 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
  8. EB

    Ha Ha – for all those folks, especially the media talking heads, i.e., CNN Richard Herman, that ridiculed and disrespected Jose Baez ("he's way over his head') how's the crow? Yes, the evidence was not there for premed murder, but if the prosecution wasn't so damn arrogant along with Ashton's unprofessional and foolish display of hubris (which was smartly highlighted for the jurors by Baez), the prosecution may have had a better outcome. Why on earth would anyone, especially the prosecution, snicker in court in front of jurors that are considering so critical as deciding life, destruction of life or death of an accused?

    July 6, 2011 at 2:20 am | Report abuse |
  9. Tina

    Boycott any books by her or her defense team. If Oprah or any of the press interview them, turn off the television and write the sponsors IF any magazines have her or her parents on the cover don't buy it. If the jury does grant interviews or writes books, for the love of all that is holy or unholy Don't watch, don't buy. I wonder if she will get her car back? Think there are enough air freshners in universe to clear out the stink of your decomposed child?

    July 6, 2011 at 3:31 am | Report abuse |
    • blackhole

      Tina, you read my mind. Boycott, boycott, boycott.
      Only in America can you throw your children out like the trash and come out smelling like a rose.

      If I were the Orlando police, I would open the door to the jail and say to Casey Anthony "have a beauiful life" and shut the door. I would not give her any tax payers protection.

      July 6, 2011 at 3:48 am | Report abuse |
  10. Steven

    She got away with murder,she's a killer,don't blame the lawers they were just doing a job. I thought for sure she was going to be found guilty.and I have a daughter that was murdered down in n.c and me and my family got no justice

    July 6, 2011 at 3:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. blackhole

    If this is justice, why do I feel sick.

    May you rest in peace Caylee, you are with people who want you!!

    July 6, 2011 at 3:51 am | Report abuse |
  12. Grancy Nace

    What kid corpse will Nancy Grace gnaw on next?

    July 6, 2011 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
    • summerguy

      Nancy Grace treats us as the viewers like we are idiots....We know the details of your propaganda...if anyone in the world benefits from making money on all of these terrible things.....well, it's NANCY GRACE. People that benefit from the misery of others are just as bad of the crime committed.

      July 6, 2011 at 6:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Hotstuff Hollie

      I cried when I heard the not guilty verdict 3 times. Happy tears. In the great country, we are presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty. I'm proud to be an American.

      July 6, 2011 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
    • V J Nicely

      If Casey Anthony gets out this week and sells her story or has a reality show the people of Florida deserve to be repaid for her legal expenses. Everyone in office that has cut money to education and the needs of our poor should not be re-elected.

      July 6, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
    • EddyL

      Right about Nancy as a starving tabloid queen; note how she kept reusing videos of jail phone calls and showing the typical emotion out of context as the person's character.

      July 6, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Brent

      Those who are so upset about this verdict should take a step back. Maybe Casey did it, but the point is that in American criminal law the prosecution must remove all reasonable doubt as to guilt. This prosecution (and the police who investigated) failed miserably in that task by being unable to answer so many questions. If she had been convicted, this opens the door for other sloppy prosecutions to succeed, and inevitably for innocent people to be jailed, or worse. Maybe you! So hats off to the defense for making this issue clear in the summation.

      July 6, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Mari

      If by some miracle (which I don't buy for a moment) that child is dead due to a horrible accident, I still cant believe she was found not guilty of child-neglect/abuse. We arrest parents in this state for a lot less on charges of neglect. The mere fact that she went 31 days without reporting it or attempting to save the child earned her at the very least the neglect chg. The jury was insane.

      July 6, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • PEGOLDE

      Dear Mommy...I see you smile down there below...are those tears of joy you show? I'm glad your happy, although you lied...I'd love to be right by your side...but by your choice, I view from above...tell my Grandparents I send my love...it's Beautiful here, is all I can say...your life will go on... without me in your way. Love Caylee

      REPOST FOR A LITTLE GIRL THAT OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM

      July 6, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mari

      Dear Mommy...I see you smile down there below...are those tears of joy you show? I'm glad your happy, although you lied...I'd love to be right by your side...but by your choice, I view from above...tell my Grandparents I send my love...it's Beautiful here, is all I can say...your life will go on... without me in your way. Love Caylee

      REPOST FOR A LITTLE GIRL THAT OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM FAILED

      Absolutely.

      July 6, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. OJ

    Dead kid (sad) Cable news creating a 3-year reality show. (typical) Nancy Grace trying to become part of the story and ending up looking like the jerk she is (priceless).

    July 6, 2011 at 4:17 am | Report abuse |
  14. Sara

    I HOPE THIS MONSTER DIE A HORRIBLE DEATH..

    July 6, 2011 at 4:50 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jennifer

    NO JUSTICE FOR CAYLEE!!! I pray that every second of Caseys life is more horrible than the first! She did it. She may not be punished here but she will BURN IN HELL! GOD BLESS YOU CAYLEE!!!! PLEASE REMEMBER TO HUG YOUR CHILDREN OFTEN AND ALWAYS TELL THEM YOU LOVE THEM!

    July 6, 2011 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Discusted

      Well said Jennifer

      July 6, 2011 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      The media found her guilty months ago. That's what sells papers. Its a shame most Americans don't seem to realize how easily their opinions can be manipulated into a mob frenzy of "hang 'em high".

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