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. wheels

    don't blame the jury, blame the prosecutor for going after an inflated charge with NO EVIDENCE. guilty in the court of public opinion isn't enough

    July 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chrissy

      True, the Prosecution played it too "safe" by not including the needle with chloroform (and testosterone) found with Caylee's body, the mails sent to her former cellmate by Casey while in prison, and not introducing her cell phone records with triangulation to show her whereabouts during that 31 days. Those tidbits may have swayed things, even if they would require more explanations. The Defendent can always appeal, but the prosecution can't.
      Good luck to her and the poor Jury who will be walking around with targets on their backs now as some people are too crazy to handle the decision without trying to take their own actions.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. East Texas Lady

    There were 13 people guilty in that courtroom today. Casey and the 12 people that had sworn to uphold the law. They all belong in hell.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tammie

    What a shame! I believe the jury only wanted to go home. What else could be the reason that they came to this decision.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stinny

      Lack of evidence.
      It's not what you "know". It's what you can prove.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. HITON THEBACKOF THE HEAD

    What a abhorrance of justice! Makes me sick! Jurors took the "reasonable doubt" crap a bit too far!! Her living with this, though, is a death sentence in itself.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • VegasRage

      The people of Florida are complete moron's

      July 5, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roger Blatto

      At the end of the day a beautiful child was found dead on the woods. Her mother did not report her missing for a month. She can party for another 80 years and spend the rest of eternity answering to a divine justice. RIP Caylee. Your killer whoever they may be has not been brought to justice.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Karen Lee

    Proves what she said she is a very good liar and the jurors are some sick people they should be ashamed you all will pay someday you all make me sick obviously it wasn't about Caylee What do you have to say for yourself Cindy and George you both know she killed Caylee

    July 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. What an injustice

    Talk about injustice. The fact that they only took 10 hours should say something. You cannot honestly tell me that she isn't at least complicit in what happened to this poor child. Seems like she walking down the same freedom trail as OJ. I'd say her conscience will get to here eventually but I doubt she has one. Now she can go back to being a party girl again, until she finds herself pregnant with another "interference to her lifestyle". Mandatory sterilization anyone?

    July 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Autumn

      Absolutely!

      July 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kevin

    anyone who's ever been summoned for jury duty and rejected knows that the people ultimately selected for jury service are not necessarily the best and brightest

    July 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Autumn

      agree 100%

      July 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Utterly Amazed

    Our legal system is F*&@ed UP!!! The defense had no defense and that phone call said it ALL. I'm sure the jury just wanted to HOME. Way to go ya'll!!! BTW, is that juror going to make his cruise?!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. TK

    DISGUSTED!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Briana

    B.S just B.S!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. caseysucks

    This jury sucks.. I guess "Tony" must have connections somewhere. Casey gets a max of 4 yrs and most will probably be credited to time served. She walks and lives her life and poor Caylee never will.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Chas

    Chewbaca defense wins again just like OJ.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. keepItReal

    I hope if she did kill that child that she is "HAUNTED" forever and when she leaves this earth that the pits of Hell OPENS wide to swollow her up! Poor babies they just said its ok to kill you in FL

    July 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joey Matthews

    There's a sucker born every minute.....apparently 12 in Florida.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. SirDirtiness

    I may have missed something... didn't follow every nuggest.... but I never heard beyond a reasonable doubt evidence in this trial.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
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