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. Micac

    My question is. Why is there so much concern over Caylee? Little kids get murdered and die early all the time not only in the united states but around the world. If your so concerned with a child being killed how about you donate money to a charity that feeds starving children so another innocent child doesn't die.
    Get over it. Yes it's sad but you probably have no relation to the victim.

    July 6, 2011 at 6:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Mari

      If she had two eyes, two hands and two feet and was of the human race, she had a relation to all of us. The fact that she was so small only intensifies the anger and the horror we all should feel. The fact that she was murdered by the one person in this world chosen to protect her is disgusting.

      July 6, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jennifer

    THE JURY IS NOW GUILTY OF MURDER!

    July 6, 2011 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
    • justice was served

      really the jury is the murderer ... by law they found her not guilty from a lack of evidence tell me how did caylee die.....im waiting... oh wait you don't know...noone knows for sure ...aside from casey and company...they did not prove how she died .... why she died... when she died... they did not prove a murder let alone that casey commited it .... would you convict someone of murder because they are a liar or they are cold hearted..... that would make you a murderer....pot...(you)... calling the kettle(casey) ..black

      July 6, 2011 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bemackin

    So, if our children ever accidentally die, we can go off and party and have no obligations to report it. When the police finally ask about it, as long as we lie we can get off on a misdemeanor. That is what was absolutely proven for the people who do not believe she killed her child. I can see why this Jury would go and hide, they should be ashamed. I've figured they were idiots because they didn't even take notes. One juror was doodling; so could they even write? If you see their descriptions, you can see UNEDUCATED FOOLS. Just like OJ and his defense got their demise, it will not be long before Casey and whoever else was involved gets theirs.

    July 6, 2011 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
    • IRISHKATIE

      I listenend to both sides,but i do agree with one of the bloggers that stated that casey running around getting a tatoo drinking etc.we all know she did something to that child;the big fear she could bring another child into the world.justice was not served;sad

      July 6, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • CRFiorenzo

      Well said Bemackin!!

      July 6, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ed

    I wish that the fols who run CNN would go to some of the neatral websites and see what the overwhelming majority of the public thinks of Nancy Grace. While Grace has a large, loyal fanbase, most people seem to think that she doesn't belong on the air, especilly on a news network that wants to be take seriously. Her very prsence at headline news tarnishes the networks image. Giving Nancy her walking papers would be the best first step HLN could make if they want to improve their ovarall image with the general public. Fox News got rid of it's biggest "raving" personality despite his enormous fan base, HLN should do the same thing with their raver. It would ne nice if the news networks started focusing on news again.

    July 6, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  5. Trina

    There are much comments and everyone agrees that she did it, it boggles my mind on how stupid the jury was. Now crazy mothers are going to start to do this thinking that it is okay. Great message you sent out State of Florida. One good reason to live in New Mexico.

    July 6, 2011 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  6. Richard

    People People people, It all comes down to the evidence. Sorting out Facts and evidence from fiction. Outrageous proclamations fron prosecuters inserting THEIR facts and unproven allegations as such And THE FART IN THE CAN forensick (HA HA JERK) promoting HIS NEW gimicks are good as DNA evidence. Im sick of these prosecuters who mix in as evidense creating a CLOUD (HAZE) which mixes uncertainty as certainty. Im glade this Jury didn't buy into the theatrics of the presecuters and the FART IN CAN promoter as I compare to SNAKE OIL Merchants from yesteryear. Discernment is a GOD GIVEN VIRTUE and I comend this JURY. AND I Believe HER GUILTY but the evidence wasn't there. There was NO PREMEDITATION, NO PAST CHILD ABUSE both requirments for murder. How can you believe a PROSECUTER WHO LIES ON NATIONAL TV in VIEW OF HUNDREDS OF MILLION PEOPLE to the JUDGE when ASK if HE LAUGHED and SAID NO. RETIREMENT TO ESCAPE THE JUDGES WRATH when the JUDGE sees the TAPE. HARD EVIDENCE

    July 6, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. JJ

    Nancy Grace is a low life, dispacable person, who has absolutely no business being on television! If anybody happens to not see her point of view, she throws temper tantrums, calls people names, and is just downright unprofesional. She is the reason why this whole story got the attention that it did. Maybe she should personally apologize to the entire Anthony family, and then go away!

    July 6, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  8. EddyL

    A typical poor state case where the subject is bled with legal fees – wave after wave of sham motions @ $1500-$2000 each until they are broke, then have to plea.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  9. suschneider

    I have watched this case from the begining. I have watched the Media assasinate Casy. Now that the Jury didn't convict Casy, you are now assinatinating them. I have seen Police botch up cases as I heard in this case. My question as it should be with everyone else since George Anthony was in the house to why wasn't he investigated too. The Media has made Casey the most genius person in the world as she as the Media wants us to believe that she got away with Murder. Did not George Anthony have an Affair when he was soooo concerned about he's Granddaughter. All the Lies form this family. Look to the Grandfather thats where your answers will lie, that man couldn't tell the truth if his own life depened on it. So where did Casy learn to Lie don't look far from the tree. To the Jury; My hat goes out to each of you as you did a Wonderful job, thank each of you for leaving all your familys for so long and not getting caught up in this Media frenzy. To Caylee R.I.P. dear baby, maybe someday when everyone looks at all the evidence clearly and without perjudice then maybe we will get answers.

    July 6, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. Debbie Miller

    u just let a murder walk! Shame on u! But the LORD IS coming and she will be one that i won't have to see. but for that beautiful little girl i'll be able to hold an love. i dont believe in the death penalty but she IS guilty and should of gotton life without any chance of EVER gettin out!!! death is to easy and a fast way out an life would of been more hell than any death.she will have her day. and i hope her mother and father turn's their back an close's the door for her to Never enter. she need's locked up to never be able to have another child to do the same thing to.

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

    Thank God for our laws and our form of government. If guild or inocense were left up to the media or Nancy Grace, former prosecuter, we'd all be in jail. Thank God that jury had to courage, intelligence to look beyond Casey's facial expressions and listen to the testamony which, if every one listened to that and not the media, would have arrived at the same conclusion-–NOT GUILTY. She may be guilty of manslaughter, but there was NO PROOF! We can not judge people on other people's prejudices or agenda.

    July 6, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. PhilC

    Nancy Grace is a disgrace!
    Those being taken in by her yellow journalism hate mongering need to get the head checked.

    July 6, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • colleenLynn

      It's good to find someone who agrees with me on Nancy Grace. Thanks PhilC

      July 6, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • donna

      PhilC, You are an absolute Idiot, I guess you would much prefer taking the impulsive ridiculous so-called judgement assumed by 12 incompetent jurors. Than the brilliant legal assessment made by a highly qualified attorney; "Nancy Grace". America boasts that their Judicial system is the best in the world; it is the best JOKE. Individuals should not be randomly picked off the streets and asked to adudicate legal matters, end result; many innocent behind bars, and too many GUILTY ones like CRIMINAL CASY ANTHONY on the streets. The United States of America better rethink their nonsensical process. How does a layman adjudicate the law this is preposterous!!

      July 6, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. t

    This Casey Anthony case was not complicated.......it was really easy........it was a slam dunk.

    FACTS.
    1. The baby was murdered, it was a homicide.
    2. The baby disappeared and died while under the normal care of Casey. That's negligence right there.
    3. Casey did not report baby missing for 31 DAYS! Then lied about it.
    This is a plain and simple case of criminally negligent homicide. They don't have to prove Casey killed the baby, the proof is the baby died while in her care.
    End of story.

    Also.........people have said the "jury did their job"

    NO......they did not do their job.

    The jury is compelled to look at all the evidence presented, and they did not.
    They didn't ask for one tape, one picture, and no exhibits whatsoever.
    The jury just wanted to go home.

    the jury sucked.

    July 6, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • donna

      t you're an absolute Genius! could not have been better said. Try selecting 12 Apes from the Zoo, and 6 monkeys as alternates, they would have arrived at the right conclusion; CASEY ANTHONY IS GUILTY!

      July 6, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. carolyn s cato

    Would some one please explain to the comment I just heard read on HLN which said " she was not proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt" the difference between that an reasonable doubt I watched all the testimony and there was absolutely no way a reasonably thinking adult could miss the fact that there was absolutely no way Casey Anthony was not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. nicole

    i think that the prosecution had the right killer and a very weak forensic case. I feel that in my opinion that the jury made a decision based on what they were given and in the end will have to live with their decision. Right or wronge lets hope that she keeps her nose straight.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
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