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. charity

    wheres the justice for caylee???

    July 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ketrout

    The jury are really dumb and to allow a killer go free is beyond belief.

    JUSTICE WAS NOT SERVED!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • CynicalTIm

      People don't understand that a jury's task isn't to decide if they think a person is guiltt or not; their job is to decide if the evidence is sufficient to prove that the person is guilty. The state put on a terrible case. Don't criticize the jury.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. tracy Brigman

    I am disgusted... that poor baby laid dead in a hot car for God knows how long.. was thrown in the woods only to be eaten by animals,.. no justice for Americas baby!!!!!!!! Rest in peace beautiful girl !!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. c

    DISGUSTING is all i can say. Those jurors had to have lost their ever lovin' minds. SOOOO...who killed her? why were there traces of human body in the trunk? WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU NOT REPORT YOU OWN CHILD MISSING FOR SO LONG?...AND why did she lie to police if she had nothing to hide. don't mean to be hateful...but I have a VERY STRONG DISLIKE for every single one of those jurors right now. that poor innocent little baby girl :(((

    July 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. CynicalTIm

    People don't understand that a jury's task isn't to decide if they think a person is guiltt or not; their job is to decide if the evidence is sufficient to prove that the person is guilty. The state put on a terrible case. Don't criticize the jury.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Christy

    The burden of proof here was just not met. No matter what you think or how you feel about her. There was simply no evidence to support she killed Caylee, how or where it was done. That's what jury's have to rely on–EVIDENCE & none of it was strong enough to support the allegations against her.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jonathan

    I guess Caylee ended up in the woods in a bag own her. This must be what our justice system believes.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. michele

    How on earth can she have been found NOT GUILTY! Look at all the evidence. Are these jurors on drugs or what? This is not justice. No matter what, she will be guilty in people's eyes!! Poor Kaylee, how could a jury make these MORONIC decisions. I guess we can all go and do what the hell we like from now on.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Harry

    WOW... totally unexpected. This has got to be the biggest upset since OJ Simpson's trial. I feel sorry for the little girl... where is her justice in all of this?

    July 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. matt

    It is basically safe to say that she murdered her daughter but because there she was never proven to have killed Caylee, the jury didn't sentence her... This just flat out stinks with the whole "innocent until proven guilty" principle. Now that lying monster is basically free to walk and she must feel pretty damn proud of herself knowing she got away with the murder of an innocent child.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Randi

    I cannot believe it. Is the jury that stupid?????? She lied to the police about everything but they don't think she killed her daughter!!! Come on. Everything comes around on the wheel of life and Casey will get hers. I know it. And I hope those jurors can sleep at night because they let a guilty woman go free and no justice for that beautiful little girl.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ashley

    I can't even believe they fine her not guilty she is guilty she did kill her she is walking away thinking I got away with it unbelievable

    July 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. G8R8U2

    Absolutely outrageous! Our justice system is irrevocably broken. Juries today are too often made up of people too ignorant to either understand the evidence and modern forensics and/or the true meaning of the word "reasonable" in reasonable doubt... they seemingly must be convinced beyond all doubt to reach a guilty verdict, and that is not what the law requires. Unbelievable that another victim is denied justice because of jurors like this. No mother on this planet would let a month go by without reporting her child missing or dead unless she was complicit in it. The evidence was absolutely overwhelming against her. I think I'm going to be sick.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jeremy

    What professional field will Casey be going into now? hopefully not DYFUS

    July 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Loree

    Unfortunately, the seeds of reasonable doubt were successfully planted here on earth, but Casey will live with her own private hell knowing what she did and will face the wrath of God one day just like OJ will. I just hope Caylee is safe and protected in heaven with the angels and that Casey never has the opportunity to see her in the afterlife.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
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