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. il

    what the f... . I hope she burns in hell

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

    Then who does the jury think killed that little girl? The same mystery person that killed Nicole Simpson, JonBenet Ramsey, Scott Peterson's wife????

    July 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • lizadiane

      hello scott peterson is in San Quentin

      July 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Grammy

    The state of Florida just opened the doors for every lunatic and crazy that wants to kill a child and get away with it to come to our state. I would love to know where she thinks she is going after this. Everyone in the world knows who she is and I hope she doesn't have a peaceful second for the remainder of her life. If I were her mom and dad I would never speak to her or see her again! Their lives have been so destroyed.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. momakelly

    i feel like she is guilty, but did not have all the facts. Someone that lies as much as she does and who is as crazy as she is will have things catch up to her. Whether she is guilty or not...kharma is a b*^$h for whomever did it! That little angel is proably better off without that family!

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

    So, if I understand correctly: they convicted her on all the counts of lying to police ... so they believe she lied about everything they told the police, but believe that she was telling the truth about not killing her child? Baez just proved a truth of the American justice system: if you can come up with a defense so stupid and contradictory (her dad did it, maybe the cable guy did, the nanny did it) and confuse stupid people, you'll win. The jury chose to believe the defenses case – one rooted in multiple contrasting theories that were not at all supported by any evidence. Shocked doesn't come close to describing my reaction.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ryan

    Yes!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jack

    Wow....jury must have been sleeping throughout the whole trial. Let me ask you this, jurors!!! If you all found her guilty of lying to peace officers, what the f*** was she lying about? She was lying about killing her daughter and dumping her in a forest. I guess this jury was truly her peers. They thought it was ok to kill a baby and get away with it.

    State of Florida should be nuked and everyone there killed for stupidity.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MOM

    HEAVEN....SHE IS LAUGHING...HER DAUGHTER IS DAD...DOGS ATE HER BONES AND SHE IS LAUGHING...GOD IS WATCHING THIS CASEY !!!!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • WaitWhat?

      Quit yelling. We're right here.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Felicia

    First they said Caylee died in the pool.... we can prove it....ummmm how did you prove it. Why would you go dancing and enjoy your time if you truly cared about your kid. great job jury please let the next one go too.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Samantha

      i agree completely! this is crazy! how in the world is she so happy and dancing around laughing, smiling and acting like nothing is wrong when HER DAUGHTER is DEAD!!!! im not a mom, im simply a teen girl but i can NOT understand how ANYONE could EVER act like that if their daughter is dead!!!! she was a little 2 yr old girl, completely innocent... and to make it worse whenever she first "disappeared" what mother WOULDN'T call the cops or a friend or a family member or someone to tell them what happened??? did she NOT want her daughter back if she truely was "missing" instead of somewhere dead exactly where Casey knew she was...

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

    Guilty or not, how can she be laughing and smiling? At the end of the day, again guilty or not, her daughter was murdered. I wouldn't have the capacity to laugh, if I experienced a tragedy like that, esp. after sitting through a trial viewing crime scene photos, etc.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • lizadiane

      I agree. Seems like that was the most she ever cried too – when she got off scott free....not about her daughter. The Jury must have gotten off the small bus when arriving at court.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Samantha

    i dont understand how anyone could even consider her NOT guilty!!!! She killed little 2 year old Caylee Marie Anthony without any shadow of a doubt and without any regret.... her only regret is that she ALMOST got caught for it... she blamed her father, mother, "Zanny the nanny", and everyone else that she could!!! She OBVIOUSLY did it! and i have absolutely NO CLUE how the jury even consider her NOT being GUILTY!!!! i really hope she has a horrible life from now on... little Caylee will forever be with me in my memory, she was a beautiful, INOCENT child who was simply born to a bad mother.

    R.I.P. Caylee Marie Anthony.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dixee Heart

    The jury should be ashamed of themselves.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Carla Hurst-Chandler

    She may as well be in prison. She will never be safe on the street again. And for good reason.
    What a travesty.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Angie

    in shock...Justice failed today. And now that she is aquitted, she will never be tried again...such a sad day in America

    July 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Steve

    I can not believe that this HO got off!It just gos to show that the "Blue Pool"lives on!!If it wasnot for her father stonewalling for 30 days,this would not have turrned out this way.

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