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. Lee

    NO JUSTICE FOR CAYLEE

    July 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jenny1

    more proof that the jury system does not work.

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

      Exactly. The jury should be ashamed of themselves. Unbelievable. It was a no brainer. She killed her innocent daughter and look what she put her parents thru especially her father! I'm sick to my stomach. I hope karma catches up to her real quick.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimbojones

      Remarkable. The "jury system," as you so rudimentally put it, worked EXACTLY as it was supposed to. If this woman had been found guilty of anything except lying to the cops, THAT would be the travesty. There was no time of death, no murder weapon, no direct evidence that Casey Anthony murdered her daughter in a premeditated fashion. The charges levied by the IDIOT state's prosecutor never had a chance of sticking and so, a murderer walks. Stop blaming Casey Anthony and start blaming the State of Florida for not prosecuting a better case.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Donna Post

    We learned a lesson today, that being that if you tell enough crazy lies then you can really get away with murder. So sad for this helpless little girl.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. PostModAmerican

    For those of you who don't like the American Judicial system, consider relocating to another place, I hear public stoning is still popular in parts of the world. Perhaps that will satisfy? The judicial system is unfair? It only favors the guilty? There's no justice for the innocent? Then leave. I don't agree with the shortcomings of our system, but as an American, I stand behind them. To enjoy the benefits and luxuries of being an American citizen (and believe me, there are MANY) and then turn around and trash our court systems based on material that the public media has fed you, is tacky, irresponsible, and ungrateful.

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

      u guys are idiots!! it shows there is no COMMON sense left in america just a bunch of mindless drones who cant tell fact from fiction!

      July 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • PostModAmerican

      The sense of America lies unfortunately only in the COMMON, and words like "idiots" are used first by the those who see it in themselves, second by the educationally limited, and third by the jealous.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimbojones

      People with COMMON sense are the problem in this country. There are too few of us with EXCEPTIONAL sense, who can actually tell the difference between the two. The jury did exactly what they were supposed to do. The prosecution in this case did NOT.

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

    So, a dead baby and nobody did it. Maybe OJ will find the real killer!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lisa

    SHOCKING!!!! God bless that little girl

    July 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. She's guilty

    So was the jury asleep for the past 6 weeks??? Unbelievable... what a bunch of idiots

    July 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Conner

    What a sad day for our legal system. Just further proof that it's broken beyond repair. No justice for Caylee only for the sick, SICK family who was raising her.

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

      Not really. The state failed to even prove that a murder occurred, much less that she was the perpetrator. Actually, although it's possibly the most unpopular verdict since O.J.'s trial, it's an example of the system working EXACTLY as planned. (Don't forget the whole "beyond the shadow of a doubt" clause. It's the one thing the People have going for them in the face of prosecution (and persecution) by an ever-more power-mad and self-serving government.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lynn Donohue

    I have been watching this case since Nancy Grace first aired it. I am stunned at the verdict. Will the courts wait until she has another child who will lose it's life.....what in the hell were they thinking?

    July 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • 6000years

      She has always been more concerned about herself. She stuck to the kidnapping story until the bones were found. She is one evil u-know-what. She'll probably get a reality tv show now. Casey's bella vita.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    Can you believe she is smiling? Whether she did it or not her 2 year old daughter is dead. Makes me sick.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Holly

    I am disgusted at this verdict. There are so many things that just do not add up. Why would the father be an accomplice? Why would her car smell like "decomposing flesh"? why would she chloroform her child that was already dead? the dust tape? the false people that she claime were looking after her daughter after she was dead? Come on people... where is the justice for that little girl ... and how can Casey be so heartless. I am a mother of a beautiful 5 year old girl. If she did not want to be responsible for a child, she should have kept her pants on.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sharon

    What was the parent's reaction?

    July 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Donna

    This is so sick. I can't believe the attorney's can even hug her. Where is the justice in this world today for a mother to kill and bag her baby and throw by the road? I feel so sorry for these grandparents. I hope they never see their daughter again!

    July 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sandy

    Open note to the Jury of the Casey Anthony case:
    You are all stupid and hope you all rot in hell.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. AJS

    God bless the useless American justice.

    July 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318