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. Nancy

    Dear Mommy,

    I am angel in heaven now! I've been told by other angels its a better place for me. Mommy, I have a few questions I would like you to read. Why Mommy, did you hide my death if it were so accidental? Jo Jo, Ci Ci, and Unlce Lee didnt understand how this could be! Why did you throw me away like trash and leave me in the woods for all the scary animals to eat? Why did those 12 people not spend much time thinking about me? I was there mommy as those people who defended you toasted to champagne and jumped up and down as if they were dancing on my grave.What did I do that was so bad mommy, I needed you in a way you never believed! Why mommy didnt you feel the same about me? I have forgiven you mommy cuz Jesus told me what it means. I asked him why I should forgive and he whispered in my ear "that is how it needs to be." However mommy I cannot speak for all the strangers who have had a voice for me. I hope someday you will find it in your heart to set the truth free. Have a "beautiful life" mommy, this is the way you wanted it to be.

    July 6, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erin

      Rick, I absolutely agree.
      Short of going after her on another level,the public needs to keep track of her. She is dangerous and someone who is good at setting up website maybe should post a tracking site world wide. We need to watch out for her, she is a danger to children everywhere.
      Where in the world is Casey Anthony and when she changes her name, we find out her new name and follower her any way. You can only change so much about yourself.
      The world needs to track Crazy Anthony for the sake of public safety.

      July 6, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Nancy I read your comment and Ithought how appropriate....I have been sick to my stomach for days when I think of what has happened....How could someone not see that child was killed in a terrible manner smothering with tape over the nose and mouth? She has no remorse she is the devil she has no right to the life she is looking forward too. She should never be allowed to have children again. God will punish her for this deed.

      July 7, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. MadDog2020

    I bet she puts out now even more than before...
    what town does she live in?

    July 6, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Irene

    Anyone with common sense can clearly see that Casey Anthony's disturbing (Waiting 31 days) and provocative behavior and web of lives, when it comes to making up a web of lies about her missing and dead daughter is definitely not the normal reaction a mother would have in such a situation.
    To me in addition to the obvious physical evidence that the prosecution proved, the fact that Casey didn't even shed a tear for her daughter is evidence enough that she is guilty of murdering Caylee.
    We are very proud of Jeff Ashton and the prosecution team for proving with facts that Casey did indeed kill her child.
    Jeff Ashton is such a brilliant lawyer and a refined gentleman. We are really shocked and disgusted with the not guilty verdict and we know that the truth will come back to haunt her and there will be justice for Caylee someday.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Patrick Amarasinghe

    I was watching the Casey Antony's case until it's jury verdict. I was always supporting the view that she was not involved in involuntary manslaughter, based on the information I heard and saw in the TV and the internet.

    There is however, a strong view that our justice system did not do the justice for a sweet and young kid, Casey's daughter. Similar view is prevailing also in case of O.J. Simpson's verdict.

    What does this mean? Can we be proud of that we are having the greatest justice system in the world? Is this system capable of trapping the killers, and do the justice to the victims? or, those who has wealth and the capability served differently by the legal system?

    July 6, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Duh2011

    Good job to the 12 genius jurors for using common sense. The baby drowned in the pool in the early morning, George Anthony dried the dead baby off, put her clothes on her (her clothes were found with her remains, not her PJs or naked), put duct tape on her mouth and nose (God only knows why someone would do that after the baby is already dead), threw her in some trash bags, walked her down the street (Lord knows there certainly wasn't a dead baby in the car trunk), and threw her in a swamp like trash.

    That's exactly the story the defense sold, and it's the story some of you are buying. Congratulations. Way to look at the evidence! Sleep well jury!

    July 7, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  6. CNNSucks

    I think Casey had a role in her daughter's death. Obviously, the Jury got it wrong.

    Having said that, i must point out that more than day after the verdict was delivered, Nancy Grace, Jean Valez Mitchell, Vinny Politan and the like don't seem to have learned their lessons. They have been trying Casey on TV for the past 2 years and have declared her guilty long ago. I am sick and tired of how judgmental these media personalities have become. Nancy had turned into a disgrace. Given that she is a lawyer, you would expect her not to so judgmental. But sadly she has been leading this horrendous bunch on TV. I, for one, was hoping for an acquittal in the hope that it will finally shut these talking heads up.

    BTW, who was Mark Geragos referring to when he took a shot at 'bleach blong former prosecutors on TV' who have been trying her on TV for too long.

    July 7, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • sonia

      You are the one that sucks.To let that monster walk away with what she did just to teach a lesson to Nancy Grace? narrow-minded and selfish haters like you are given the right to serve as a jury and play with justice, how sad, this is like a bad dream!

      July 7, 2011 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. Sandra

    To caylee Marie Anthony
    Fly lyrics
    Fly, fly little wing
    Fly beyond imagining
    The softest cloud, the whitest dove
    Upon the wind of heaven's love
    Past the planets and the stars
    Leave this lonely world of ours
    Escape the sorrow and the pain
    And fly again

    Fly, fly precious one
    Your endless journey has begun
    Take your gentle happiness
    Far too beautiful for this
    Cross over to the other shore
    There is peace forevermore
    But hold this mem'ry bittersweet

    Until we meet

    Fly, fly do not fear
    Don't waste a breath, don't shed a tear
    Your heart is pure, your soul is free
    Be on your way, don't wait for me
    Above the universe you'll climb
    On beyond the hands of time
    The moon will rise, the sun will set
    But I won't forget

    Fly, fly little wing
    Fly where only angels sing
    Fly away, the time is right
    Go now, find the light

    July 7, 2011 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sandra

    celine says it best >http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJEAZsrCtFY
    Fly, fly little wing
    Fly beyond imagining
    The softest cloud, the whitest dove
    Upon the wind of heaven's love
    Past the planets and the stars
    Leave this lonely world of ours
    Escape the sorrow and the pain
    And fly again
    Fly, fly precious one
    Your endless journey has begun
    Take your gentle happiness
    Far too beautiful for this
    Cross over to the other shore
    There is peace forevermore
    But hold this memory bitters
    Until we meetFly lyrics
    Fly, fly little wing
    Fly beyond imagining
    The softest cloud, the whitest dove
    Upon the wind of heaven's love
    Past the planets and the stars
    Leave this lonely world of ours
    Escape the sorrow and the pain
    And fly again
    Fly, fly precious one
    Your endless journey has begun
    Take your gentle happiness
    Far too beautiful for this
    Cross over to the other shore
    There is peace forevermore
    But hold this memory bittersweet
    Until we meet
    Fly, fly do not fear
    Don't waste a breath, don't shed a tear
    Your heart is pure, your soul is free
    Be on your way, don't wait for me
    Above the universe you'll climb
    On beyond the hands of time
    The moon will rise, the sun will set
    But I won't forget
    Fly, fly little wing
    Fly where only angels sing
    Fly away, the time is right
    Go now, find the light
    Fly, fly do not fear
    Don't waste a breath, don't shed a tear
    Your heart is pure, your soul is free
    Be on your way, don't wait for me
    Above the universe you'll climb
    On beyond the hands of time
    The moon will rise, the sun will set
    But I won't forget
    Fly, fly little wing
    Fly where only angels sing
    Fly away, the time is right
    Go now, find the light

    July 7, 2011 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  9. louis

    The girl has a tuff road ahead. Jail would be easier at this point. but speachless about the verdict? i agree.
    Who knows for a fact that she murdered her child? She may be selfish and it apeared she could care less about her missing child. but we still dont know for sure that she is a murderer. She won her case. her last chance in life, and she got off. Let her be gratefull. Let her team be happy with the win. The media and public are doing it again by condeming.
    How many cops have won cases with clear guilty evidence. How many people get prison terms when they are innocent. Let the crazy selfish psyco chick party on. One night caylee will visit her in spirit and say " mommy why did you ruin grandma and grandpas life"? Let her do her thang, we all have our own values. the courts are a playing field, and her team beat the odds. Me personally? Im dumbfounded. She has to be satans bride.

    July 7, 2011 at 4:17 am | Report abuse |
  10. louis

    now that she walks. Who is responsible for caylees death? Is this case still open? Everyones upset about the verdict,
    thats not gonna change. Is there forgiveness available? Can the anthony family mend the infected deep wounds?

    July 7, 2011 at 4:51 am | Report abuse |
  11. Glen

    The more I think about the verdict and what happened to Caylee the more i realize – we don't know what happened to Caylee. We know NOTHING about her actual death. When, where, how, why or who was present. How could the jury have possibly come to any other verdict? They convicted her for lying to police. That's it. By all accounts Caylee was a beautiful and happy child that was loved dearly by her mother and grandparents. Absolutely NO evidence to support a historyof abuse or neglect. I just don't understand how anyone can be surprised by a Not Guilty verdict. They can't be looking at the facts in the case. Thank God the jury did. And don't think God isn't in control. He is. Be very careful how you judge others as you will be judged the same. Stop the hate, the insults and abusive attacks based ignorance.

    July 7, 2011 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  12. norma perez

    it was a sad day for the united states justice system,clearly justice comes from above..

    July 7, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • janice

      I could not believe casey's attorney said that Caylee would not want to see her mother suffer in prison or get the death penlty.... WHAT ABOUT WHAT CAYLEE WANTED???? DID SHE WANT HER MOTHER TO DUCK TAPE HER MOUTH AND NOSE SO SHE COULD NOT BREATHE!!!!! DID CAYLEE WANT TO BE PUT IN THE TRUNK OF HER MOTHER'S CAR DEAD WHILE HER MOTHER WAS OUT DANCING????? OH MY GOD DO YOU THINK HE GOT ENOUGH MONEY FOR THIS CASE OR WHAT??? AND ZANY THE NANNY WHO SUPPOSLY TOOK CAYLEE... COME ON ZANY WAS PROBABLY ALL THE ZANY BARS casey GAVE TO CAYLEE TO HAVE HER SLEEP WHILE SHE WAS OUT PARTYING. MAYBE THAT IS WHAT KILLED CAYLEE I REALLY HOPE SOMEONE IS BRAVE ENOUGH TO SHOT casey WHEN SHE GETS OUT BUT NOT TO KILL HER BUT TO PARALAZE HER SO SHE HAS TO SUFFER THE REST OF HER LIFE!!!! AND REMEMBER WITH OUT THE WHOLE PROOF THAT SOMEONE SHOT HER NO ONE WILL BE GUILTY!!!!!

      July 7, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharleenr

      It was a sad day for the world. I'm from canada and have watched the story through the Nacy Grace Show. I have a hard time with her not getting at least manslaughter, the verdict is very hard to believe. The following letter is being posted on facebook and says alot but very very sad...Everyone post this wherever you can.

      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 XOXO.

      REPOST FOR A LITTLE GIRL THAT THE JUSTICE SYSTEM LET DOWN..

      July 7, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Don Patrick Amarasinghe

    I have never mentioned about racism in my comment. How does my comment perpetuate racism? It is a suggestion to verify the legal system, and to think about ways to improve it to capture the real culprits.Please understand the motives of comments.

    July 7, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  14. Phyllis

    Can't believe Casey Anthony wasn't found guilty of at least the Child Abuse charges – how can a person not physically produce their child for over a month and not be found guilty of Child Abuse?

    July 7, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mizz B

    What the jury should have done, in this case, was be a hung jury. Casey Anthony would more than likely still sit in jail, and the prosecution would have been forced to investigate further and get their ducks in a row, instead of a rush to justice. It takes time to build a case when you start with zero evidence. I don't think 3 years was long enough in this case, because even at the trial, there was no absolute hard core evidence. The way it stands now, with total acquittal of murder, she can pull and OJ and write a book on how she did it, and not a goddam thing can happen to her due to double jeopardy. For the jury to come forth now and say "I don't think she didn't do it"...is preposterous, after all, they did say "NOT GUILTY"...so yea, they did say she didn't do it. How about "your honor, we just couldn't make up our minds, both sides have great arguments, we feel this needs to be investigated further."....prosecution investigates, re-charges, she sits in jail longer, and maybe, the second time around, they could have gotten better evidence. This whole thing just makes me sick.

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