Casey Anthony Trial Verdict: NOT GUILTY Of First-Degree Murder (UPDATE)

07/05/2011 01:45 pm ET | Updated Sep 04, 2011
  • David Lohr Senior Crime Reporter, The Huffington Post

ORLANDO, Fla. -- After 33 days of testimony, 400 pieces of evidence and more than 90 witnesses, the jury in the Casey Anthony case has reached a verdict.

After just a day of deliberation, jurors informed the court at midday that they had reached a decision, and both sides in the case were ordered to assemble in the courtroom.

Anthony has been found not guilty of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. She was also found not guilty of aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child. But she was convicted on charges of misleading law enforcement.

The case against Anthony was mostly circumstantial, but as it unfolded she was portrayed in the trial as a promiscuous, self-centered woman who became a cold-blooded killer. The motive, prosecutors alleged, was to allow her to live a carefree life without her daughter.

The state's case theory was that a desperate Anthony used chloroform to subdue her daughter and then suffocated her with duct tape. Anthony then fabricated fantastic lies to cover up her deeds, they said.

Anthony's attorney Jose Baez told the jury his client was the victim of an abusive upbringing.

According to Baez, Casey Anthony and her father, George Anthony, were home alone on June 16, 2008, when they noticed Caylee was missing. They began a frantic search, looking under beds and in the garage. Then George Anthony took the search outside to the above-ground pool where they found a lifeless Caylee floating in the water, Baez said.

07/05/2011 6:34 PM EDT

Public Outrage

The verdict hit a nerve with members of the audience like Scott Corfee of Orlando, who cried as he spoke with the press about the outcome.

“It was hard because we were told we were not allowed to express any emotion. It was hard when I heard not guilty. It is not justice. I cannot believe this," Corfee said. "How did an injustice like this happen? It is terrible, terrible.”

Today was his first day inside the courtroom, although he'd unsuccessfully waited on long lines on other days to get a seat in the audience.

“The hardest thing I had to do was sit there while the judge spoke after the verdict was read. I wanted to leave. As soon as I stepped out of the courtroom I screamed. A law enforcement asked me to quiet down. He said there was too many people and I might incite a riot. I said 'I’m not trying to incite anything, I’m just trying to let my voice be heard because this is an injustice.'”

07/05/2011 4:34 PM EDT

Prosecution 'Offended' The Jury

Former FBI criminal profiler Candice De Long told The Huffington Post that the prosecution must have offended the jurors.

"When there's a mountain of circumstantial evidence, people are usually found guilty," De Long said. "In Casey's case, there was no physical evidence, but the circumstantial evidence was pretty good.

"Juries sometimes go with their hearts instead of their heads," she added. "The prosecution did something to offend the jury. I'm shocked."

07/05/2011 4:18 PM EDT

'A Dry-Bones Case'

"We're disappointed in the verdict today because we know the facts and we've put in absolutely every piece of evidence that existed . . . This is a dry-bones case. Very, very difficult to prove. The delay in recovering little Caylee's remains worked to our considerable disadvantage."

-- Florida State Attorney Lawson Lamar

07/05/2011 4:11 PM EDT

Celeb Reactions . . .

Kim Kardashian, whose father was a member of O.J. Simpson's legal "dream team," says, "I am speechless!"

Sister Khloe says, "Nancy Grace is about to go HAM about this verdict. Let loose the dogs Mrs. Nancy Grace!!"

More in Huffpost Entertainment

07/05/2011 3:52 PM EDT

Casey Could Go Free On Thursday

This morning, Casey Anthony was facing the possibility of death row.

Now, she could walk free.

The Florida mom will be back in court on Thursday, when she will be sentenced on four counts of lying to police. Each count could mean up to a year in jail, but Orange County Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. could decide that the three years she's spent behind bars awaiting trial was enough punishment.

07/05/2011 3:47 PM EDT

The Prosecution Speaks To Media

"The case has always been about seeking justice for Caylee and speaking on her behalf," a prosecutor said to the media.

07/05/2011 3:41 PM EDT

Nancy Grace Reacts...Casey Can Now Get A 'Big Fat Book Deal'

Via Huffpost Media:

"It's tough when you think about Caylee and you think about this evidence and you think about all those days that Tot Mom went about partying as if Caylee had never existed," Nancy Grace said. (Read More)

07/05/2011 3:32 PM EDT

Jurors decline to talk

The jury declined to talk with reporters after the verdict.

"They know the public pressure to find Casey Anthony guilty and they are not prepared to face a scathing media," said "True Crime" host Aphrodite Jones. "They have a right not to be questioned."

07/05/2011 3:30 PM EDT

Jury Will Not Be Speaking From Courthouse

No explanation was given, but the jury won't be holding a press conference from the courthouse, but they are not expected to address the media.

Security right now is being described as "very tight."

07/05/2011 3:28 PM EDT

'O.J. Moment'

"This is another O.J. moment," said Aphrodite Jones author and host of "True Crime" on the Investigation Discovery network.

"I know that the public is outraged because Casey Anthony was not convicted," Jones told The Huffington Post by phone. "There's huge groundswell that thinks no one else could have killed this child."


For six weeks, the jury listened to arguments from both sides.

“The best ‘evidence’ of reasonable doubt is the worldwide interest in this case. Clearly, if conviction appeared to be a foregone conclusion, the interest would not be so extraordinary and clearly would have waned in any event,” famed Seattle attorney Anne Bremner said in an interview with The Huffington Post.

From the trial’s start, Bremner has followed the case as a legal analyst for CNN’s Nancy Grace and for other news networks.

“Jose Baez sowed the seeds of reasonable doubt in this case,” Bremner continued. “There was no cause of death, no direct evidence of Casey's guilt and no evidence that this wasn't an accident. While Casey has been demonized by many, we have seen here that the highest calling of citizenship is jury duty, and these jurors did their duty despite tremendous public pressure to rush to judgment. Justice requires that we respect and accept their decision.”

The acquittal of Casey Anthony will go down in history as a stunning victory for the defense in what has been called the latest “trial of the century.”

If convicted of murder, Anthony, 25, could have faced the death penalty.

PHOTOS FROM THE COURTHOUSE

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