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 Usgaard

    What are you people doing? Find something else to report about. You all want just for Caylee Anthony–what kind of life do you really think Casey is going to have? She, along with her family, will be haunted by what has happened for the rest of their lives. By the way, let the first of you who haven't sinned be free to cast the first stone. LEAVE THE ANTHONY FAMILY ALONE!!!!!

    July 7, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • janice

      hey nancy!
      do you really think casey is going to be sitting home crying about caylee?! I THINK NOT!!!!! she was ready in court today to hit the bars... i as everyone else knows she is missing the bar scene more then Caylee!! Yeah she did not look at the pictures of the skull or show any emotions for Caylee BUT when she heard the NOT GUILTY she was smiling and relieved that she had gotten away with killing Caylee. the first thought was either where to go dance or to see her old boyfriend who she wanted bad enough to kill for!!!!!! so do you want to go to orlando next week and party with casey? i am sure that is where you can find her but maybe in another country with all the money she will be getting from this.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Meg

    While I believe the jury got it wrong.....let's make sure that tot mom does not profit from her daughter's death. Let's look into a new law, "Caylee's Law" that is if a parent does not report their child missing within 1hour or whatever is reasonable. (1 minute would be reasonable for me)they will serve a life sentence if there is found to be foul play from the parents. I don't know, the fact that this baby died in her care and all the ignorant jurors could not figure that out makes me a non believer in our justice system. Who had control of the car keys and car? Please make sure that the world does not contribute to her wealth. Make her live in her own prison outside our justice system. Fight for some type of Caylee's Law.

    July 7, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kat Zio

    A baby's bones,
    the debt of a small life unpaid.
    Twelve mouths with one voice sing no

    dirge but speak
    words to the tune of “Not guilty”,
    a gavel beating time...but no time for the

    mother who won't
    do life for a little life gone, who
    won't pay the debt but will be paid for the

    tale of her fork'ed
    tongue...thirty pieces of silver that
    rattle like a baby's toy in the pockets of her

    party dress, rattling
    like the warning end of a snake's tail.

    * * * * *

    July 7, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kat Zio

    A sweet little
    face, beautiful, angelic
    in artificial sleep, breathtaking, really....

    under three
    pieces of silver duct tape.

    * * * * *

    July 7, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kat Zio

    The case
    against Casey was opened
    and shut, slamming the hearts of a nation

    like fingers
    in a door, the blood we
    bleed for Caylee red as a valentine, red as a

    heart sticker.

    * * * * *

    July 7, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tori jones

    Okay. I'm sorry if I am missing something but if someone accidentally drowns, why would they have duct tape in their mouth?

    July 8, 2011 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Louis Park

      Agreed.But you would have to be smarter than a fifth grader to figure that out. This jury was a few classes under that.

      July 8, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  7. Maribel

    For those who would like to see her dead now that the verdict is over with. I would like to say, she is not worth the time in jail that will surely be your fate. Stay far away when she gets out. Make her look unimportant. She craves attention and do not give it to her. That is the very best imprisonment we can give her. Do not even think she is worth a nickle to buy any of her movies or books or any of the defenses for that matter. LET"S NOT MAKE THEM RICH over this traggety, I know we can do. God has Caylee now. Bless us all.

    July 8, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. Maribel

    For those who would like to see her dead now that the verdict is over with. I would like to say, she is not worth the time in jail that will surely be your fate. Stay far away when she gets out. Make her look unimportant. She craves attention and do not give it to her. That is the very best imprisonment we can give her. Do not even think she is worth a nickle to buy any of her movies or books or any of the defenses for that matter. LET"S NOT MAKE THEM RICH over this traggety, I know we can do it. God has Caylee now. Stay away when she gets out.. Go back to work or homes. Tend to your kids and tell them that you love them. Bless us all.

    July 8, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  9. WOW

    What is the point of all of this arguing and ranting? It is sad and horrible and unethical what happened to poor Caylee. But my gosh people what are you helping sitting on this blog arguing and talking about it? You all are not solving anything and not making this any better. Why don't one of you try and do something good out of this like passing a new law called, " Caylee's Law" and figure out the basis of it on your own rather than arguing with who knows who on this Internet blog that is not going to make a difference what your opinion is or not!!

    July 8, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. sonia

    Justice was served?, you are the idiot. An idiot like you should know that you don't have to be scientist to realize that if the body decomposes, the evidence will disappear as well.Casey was smart enough to know that.

    July 8, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joan Carel

    When Casey was too be at the club at a certain time. Who or whom was to taking care of the babie? Could she have Cholorfoamed or overdosed the baby??

    July 8, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. sandra d

    This shows how little we value the life of a child.She was just garbage to her mother and the jury and the lawyer. Shame on all of us for allowing this . Looks like because Casey hid the body for so long she got a reward.

    July 8, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • claudia M

      I agree whole heartedly with you, have followed the case from the start and was shocked, disgusted and a lot more when the verdict was read. Many expected the behavior from Casey, but what is the defense team, jury, and others' excuse? They should have told her to get off her sorry a _ _ and tell the whole truth, and then they'd go from there. She should be told to testify at the least. I don't suppose Baez has had enough experience to entertain the idea that Miss Casey might have drowned or let her daughter drown so she could use the accident as an excuse! She still waited the 31 days, which keep in mind would have been much more than 31 had her mom not blown her cover. Wish someone would tell King Baez that it's not up to a lying Casey or a felon to decide if someone is dead (can't be revived) or pronounce them dead. I believe we have professionals for that. She can blame her Dad all she wants but she's an adult and it was HER child – HER responsibility!! She acts like a little child and mommy and daddy make her mad! If her Dad (parents) were so bad, what was she doing over there all the time and leaving her child with them. Children accidentally drown all the time. That's no reason to cover it up. Instead of referring to Baez as having brillant strategy, etc., maybe it should be looked at as unethical – like cheating in a game. Look at his history/biography etc. I believe the clues are there. What does this say about our court system?

      July 10, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. guido dangelo

    I have three kids and three grandkids, i cant imagen loosing any of them the way that little girl lost her life, but i want to comment on how many innocent people are in jail, railroaded by cops, prosicuters, spending years in jail, so one got away, get over it, the state lost, whos protesting for all the people that were put to death by the state, wrongly accused. if she did kill her own child, karma will get her.... i hope nobody harms ms anthony, she might be innocent....we'll never know.

    July 8, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      don't be an idiot

      July 10, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Katia

    Unless your child gets abducted in the middle of the night , you know within minutes when your child goes missing.
    This monster of a mother knew her child was dead and she also knew where the body was hidden .
    What led up to the death of this beautiful , innocent girl , we don't know , but with certainty , she does.
    This woman deserved to be punished severely .
    The outcome of this trial would be laughable if it wasn't so sad.

    July 9, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Blueberry

      I AGREE. EVEN IF SHE DIDN'T HAVE HER HAND IN THE DEATH OF CAYLEE, SHE IS GUILTY. WHY? BECAUSE AS A MOTHER IT IS YOUR JOB TO CARE AND WATCH OUT FOR YOUR CHILD.

      July 9, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. geral

    Those who continue to persecute and malign Ms. casey are the LD with arms extending,​ fingers pointing, mouths wide opening and evil procliviti​es protruding​.
    http://rom​a.indymedi​a.org/prin​table/taxo​nomy/term/​1549
    http://www​.sosbeevfb​i.com/stat​ement.html
    http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/oliverwendallhol.html

    July 9, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
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