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. KBROWN5555

    Not Fair.... She did it! I bet Scott Peterson is wishing he had these bozo jurors! No proof how his wife died either, yet he sits on death row. Someone will get Casey.... she deserves it!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Blow

      Exactly. There was less evidence to convict Peterson that there was in this case. The justice system is fundamentally unjust.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Matt

    Why is anybody shocked? This is the state of intelligence in our country. Only the unemployed can afford to take two months off from work. Only complete idiots could say that they could be completely impartial given all the coverage that this trial has received. Only a society that can argue teaching creationism next to evolution could educate a jury of 12 people who can't figure out what science proves is obvious. This is really more a comment on the sad state of common sense in the United States!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jay Marroquin

    Just proves that even with the best justice system in the world, people who can afford attorneys can get away with murder. Sad reality is that there are two justice systems, one for the rich, and one for the poor.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. GodYoureStupi

    I hope the jury received their fat paychecks.. just sayin

    July 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. colorblind

    Why are some people calling this OJ 2.0 and yet other people are saying that the only reason she got off is because she is a white female? Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't OJ a black male? Can't be both ways.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dave M

    this is a sad day for little Caylee. unfnbelievable, what trial was that juror attending, oj simpson trial all over again today america. well she will have to meet her maker one day. i hope she never comes to virginia.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John

    Just goes to show that if you have some high priced legal counsel and spin enough BS in a courtroom, you get off with the crime....it worked for OJ and now her

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

    Where is the justice for that poor baby girl.....so we can kill our children and get away with it NOw?????? IF SHE DIDNT DO IT THEN WE ALLOW THIS TO BE UNSOLVED~~~~~~~~~~~~

    July 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rick

    My heart weeps for this beautiful little girl who was so innocent and full of life. I am ssory she didn't get the justice she deserves. I am sorry that the one woman who was supposed to protect her, instead chose to end her life so soon and that she got away with it. Thank you for giving me hope in our judicial system. I hope that karma comes for this horrible monster and pays her back ten fold!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Very Sad

    What a sad day! God knows the truth and she can not hide from him!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ozzie

    Do you really want to execute someone if you are not 100% sure, I wouldnt. There simply was not enough evidence to convict her.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave M

      you are a nut dude what trial were you watching, no justice for caylee

      July 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Smittle

      Right. Like the boogeyman stole her car and killed the girl. Christ, even her mother lied for her.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. GAU8Avenger

    As usual, It sure pays to be white and (in someone's opinion) pretty to get away with anything in this country. Anything other than this would be GUILTY.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      OJ was black, you idiot

      July 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cathy

    The jurors should be ashamed of themselves to let a murderer go. Casey Anthony will get hers one day just like OJ did. This makes me sick to my stomach.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • GatorALLin

      ..or the State of FL... they failed to show how she killed the child...or when...or why....

      July 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Josh

    Wow, another W-Trash psycho free on the streets. Congratulations America, may the lovely bones of Cayle keep rotting...

    July 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. SICK TO MY STOMACH

    HOPEFULLY BY NOW SHE'LL KEEP HER LEGS CLOSED AND/OR GET ON BIRTH CONTROL......BETTER YET GIVE THIS WOMAN A HYSTERECTOMY.......

    July 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
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