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. TRT

    Pretty hard to convict someone of "murder" without a case of death in my opinion.....

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

    *cause

    July 6, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. colleenLynn

    Even the prosecution states that they did not know how nor where Caylee died. There is nothing that indicates that Casey was even with her daughter when she died. People hated Casey long before this trial actually was ever tried due top the exposure that the media-even IN SESSION gave this case. Now that too is wrong. None of the media had the information that the attorney's had. They didn't even have contact with Casey, SOME of the media went so far as to even stage situations to appear that what they presented was exactly what happened. This to me is criminal.
    It is also wrong for ANYONE to go after Casey or anyone else in this trial for $$$$$ just because they do not like the verdict given.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. colleenLynn

    If Casey had not been portrayed as a party girl (selective pictures) or a pathological liar, would she still have been the targeted person in the death of her daughter?

    July 6, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. NyanCat

    I just wonder if she will be getting a visit from the Lulz Boat or Cave Johnson and his lemons first?

    My hope is the lemons.

    Gentlemen: Let the games and trolling begin!

    July 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Martha

    Amazing how she sobbed in relief for herself, but never for the death of her Baby Girl! There will never be justice for a child killed by her own Mother!

    July 6, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Unicorn

    Seriously, Nancy Grace needs to be charged with criminal defamation. Nancy Grace has basically been inciting hate towards Casey Anthony and promoting for the murder of Casey Anthony for over 3 years, since if proven guilty then it would be the death penalty for Casey Anthony.

    Nancy Grace is truly a sick individual for taking advantage of the vulnerable Casey Anthony during this long litigation process for the sake of higher television ratings. Even with a "not guilty" verdict signifying the innocence of Casey Anthony, the life of Casey Anthony from this day on will be as if the verdict was guilty because Nancy Grace has conditioned the minds of the public to vilify Casey Anthony. It is supposed to be "innocent until proven guilty" but that has sadly changed for Casey Anthony because the mainstream media concluded a guilty verdict long before the official court verdict. Sadly, Casey Anthony is just another victim of the character assassination conducted by the leftist media.

    July 6, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. T money

    Well, now that that's over with... I guess we have to find out who really killed the baby...

    July 6, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Wrong Focus

    The prosecution should have gone after the fact that Casey never wanted her daughter. That was her motivation. When people dislike their job, they will show up late, create conflict and neglect their job duties. Casey never exhibited any emotion. She lied to delay the search. The longer it took to find the body, the better change the DNA would be destroyed.

    Casey even told her brother Lee to search nearby. She indicated she could feel that Caylee was close-by. Cindy ruined the premeditation factor with perjuring on the chloroform searches. It didn't matter whether the prosecution discredited her later, the deception demonstrated that the Anthony family are all troubled souls. IMO, Cindy is an enabler that will have to deal with the devil daughter they created. Casey is like the characters featured in the Devil film. It is a perfect example of people committing terrible immoral acts, only to deal with the consequences in the face of the devil.

    The defense dragged every person through the mud. They had no evidence to prove their claims. The jurors were taken from an area with people who are obviously afraid to take the death penalty jump. It doesn't what they say in the jury selection, they froze up at the end to affect a life a life. Animals have more rights than children. There was less evidence in the Scott Peterson case to get a conviction.

    In my opinion, the legal system is adequate enough as Casey was as a mother. People assume that everything must be 100%. Policy making relies on the policy making phases to evaluate the efficiency of a program. Policy makers realize their policies require time and data to determine their effectiveness. The jurors believed Peterson was guilty. His wife was found a 100 miles away from their hometown.

    Nonetheless, Caylee's body was found down the street. She was last seen with Casey. Casey deceived the search crew and the police to delay the inevitable. She created her imaginary friends to buy time. Casey never wanted her daughter. Her motivation was to get rid of what she did not want. Cindy compromised the entire case based on accepting blame for the chloroform searches. Maybe they should build a case against her too. Even though she was rule out of making the searching, she confused the jury and showed that maybe the family had something to do with the death.

    In the end, karma will return the favor. If Casey has any guilt, then she will soon realize how many people she harmed and (IMO) taking the life of her daughter to get of what she never wanted. The videos are a fabrication of the truth. Casey beat the system better than a professional hitman on a mob movies. If the Internet searches were more specific such as ending in a kid or children, then the verdict would have swayed in the guilty direction.

    The jurors assume that you need CSI evidence and fingerprints to incriminate a person. They probably froze up like a person bungee jumping. The jurors could not find enough courage to make a reliable decision. If the jurors felt the trial influenced their summer, then they should have never accepted the duty. If they were confidence, they would have addressed the media regarding their decision. The alternate juror assumes his opinion matters. He was not sitting in the deliberation room for 10 hours.

    The decision to not incriminate Casey Anthony on even the third charge will come back to haunt them. Casey and Joran are obviously the same kind of attention-hungry liars with rage problems. People don't learn until they are put into an impossible situation. Only time will tell the tale.

    July 6, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jilly

    I haven't been following this too closely but I'm curious on a few things. Did George admit that Caylee did drown and that he helped hide the body or what? Did he admit to abusing Casey? Is he upset with Casey for saying he abused her?

    July 6, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Linda Holland

    I remember in the OJ trial that the Brown family filed a wrongful death suit. Any possibility that if the woman who is claiming to be the paternal grandmother of Caylee could, (if proven) file the same suit?

    July 6, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Wrong Focus

    The prosecution should have gone after the fact that Casey never wanted her daughter. That was her motivation to murder her daughter. When people dislike their job, they will show up late, create conflict and neglect their job duties. Casey never exhibited any emotion. She lied to delay the search. The longer it took to find the body, the better chance the DNA would be destroyed.

    Casey even told her brother Lee to search nearby. She indicated she could feel that Caylee was in the area. Cindy ruined the premeditation factor with perjuring on the chloroform searches. It didn't matter whether the prosecution discredited her later, the deception demonstrated that the Anthony family are all troubled souls. IMO, Cindy is an enabler that will have to deal with the devil daughter she created. Casey is like the characters featured in the Devil film. It is a perfect example of people committing terrible immoral acts, only to deal with the consequences in the face of the devil.

    The defense dragged every person through the mud. They had no evidence to prove their claims. The jurors were taken from an area with people who are obviously afraid to take the death penalty jump. It doesn't what they say in the jury selection, they froze up at the end to affect a life that took a life. Animals have more rights than children. There was less evidence in the Scott Peterson case to get a conviction.

    In my opinion, the legal system is adequate enough as Casey was depicted as a mother. People assume that everything must be 100%. Policy making relies on the policy making phases to evaluate the efficiency of a program. Policy makers realize their policies require time and data to determine their effectiveness. The jurors believed Peterson was guilty. His wife was found a 100 miles away from their hometown.

    Nonetheless, Caylee's body was found down the street. She was last seen with Casey. Casey deceived the search crew and the police to delay the inevitable. She created her imaginary friends to buy time. Casey never wanted her daughter. Her motivation was to get rid of what she did not want. Cindy compromised the entire case based on accepting blame for the chloroform searches. Maybe they should build a case against her too. Even though she was ruled out of the searches, she confused the jury and showed that maybe the family had something to do with the death.

    In the end, karma will return the favor. If Casey has any guilt, then she will soon realize how many people she harmed (IMO) as well as taking the life of her daughter to get of what she never wanted. The videos are a fabrication of the truth. Casey beat the system better than a professional hitman on a mob movie. If the Internet searches were more specific such as ending in a kid or children, then the verdict would have swayed in the guilty direction.

    The jurors assume that you need CSI evidence and fingerprints to incriminate a person. They probably froze up like a person bungee jumping. The jurors could not find enough courage to make a reliable decision. If the jurors felt the trial influenced their summer, then they should have never accepted the duty. If they were confidence, they would have addressed the media regarding their decision. The alternate juror assumes his opinion matters. He was not sitting in the deliberation room for 10 hours.

    The decision to not incriminate Casey Anthony on even the third charge will come back to haunt them. Casey and Joran are obviously the same kind of attention-hungry liars with rage problems. People don't learn until they are put into an impossible situation. Only time will tell the tale.

    July 6, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Glen

      This is our justice system and it worked. The prosecution never proved WHEN Caylee died or WHERE or even HOW. The WHY isn't believable and the biggest question of all – who, if anyone, was present at the time of death. As biased as the media and the Judge obviously were – it is refreshing to see the trial was decided by the evidence and wasn't the witch hunt it appeared to be. Did Casey kill Caylee? Guess we'll have to read the book .... and then the 2nd book .. and the 3rd .. and ... because we know she can't tell the truth. Afterall she was convicted of lying (not the same as murder folks). The system isn't perfect but if that was someone I loved on trial I would expect evidence of what really happened for a conviction. When the Defense calls more witnesses from the FBI while the Prosecution is finding paid experts giving false testimony – you know they really are desperate (and wrong). Cudos to the jury for doing the right thing.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  13. surprised

    My first though after hearing the Casey Anthony verdict. NOT GUILTY! I was shocked. After thinking about all that happen during the trial... I think the jurors got it right. Her parents lying under oath. If Caylee, was my Granddaughter, I wouldve told the truth not careing who got hurt. If my child hurt or killed my Grandchild intentionally.... fear me more than jail. I bet Mrs. Cindy never thought Casey would walk free. I'm sure Casey is feeling like a winner. If she is release from jail tomorrow...She will be a prisoner of the world. Where is there for her to go, what will she do?

    July 6, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erin

      Someone who is tech savvy needs to set up a tracking site for Crazy Anthony. We all need to know where she is at all times for the safety of our children and her future children.

      July 6, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. PhilC

    @donna
    Name calling is so Nancy Grace like wouldn't you agree?

    July 6, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sara Godwin

    Can the residents of Florida find a legal loophole to charge Casey Anthony? Like the civil suit in the O.J. trial. I would love to see the residents of Florida hire Ashton to file a suit against Casey.She is guilty, and her Father is close behind her in this terrible crime.

    July 6, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      she should be charge with criminal negligent homicide,resulting in death, and failing to report caley's death

      July 6, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
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