Jury: Casey Anthony Not Guilty Of Killing Caylee

ORLANDO (CBSMiami) – After years of facing charges that she killed her daughter to lead a party lifestyle, Casey Anthony’s claims of innocence were vindicated Tuesday when a seven- man, five- woman jury rejected murder and manslaughter charges that could have sent her to death row, convicting her only of four minor misdemeanor charges.

Anthony sat stoically in the courtroom as the verdict, reached after just 10 hours of deliberations, was published by the court. As the charge of first degree murder produced a not guilty verdict, and then, lesser charges of and manslaughter child abuse were also rejected, Anthony started to cry.

When the verdict was complete, they came to her feet and embraced attorney Jose Baez, who had chipped away at the prosecution’s case by claiming it simply had not proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Anthony had killed 2-year-old Caylee.

The jury’s agreement with that assertion clearly was unexpected by prosecutors, who worked hard to build a case despite the lack of physical evidence.

“We’re disappointed with the verdict today, and surprised, because we know the facts and we put in absolutely every piece of evidence that existed,” said Orange County prosecutor Lawson Lamar. “Our team did an exemplary job.”

It’s not known what the jury thought of the case. None of the jurors or alternates agreed to speak with reporters after their verdict was rendered. However, Lamar refused to be critical of the jury, saying both jurors and the defense team had done a good job.

“This was a dry-bones case, very, very difficult to prove,” he said. “The delay in recovering little Caylee’s remains worked to our considerable disadvantage.

“Our mountain of evidence did not eliminate in the jury’s view, every reasonable doubt.”

That was clear in the verdict they rendered.

Chief Judge Belvin Perry announced the verdict at 2:15 Tuesday afternoon, after getting word the jury had decided.  As his clerk read the verdict, Anthony first looked down, heeding the Judge’s warning against emotional outbursts. She began to cry after the most serious charges produced not-guilty verdicts, including a not-guilty verdict on a count of aggravated child abuse.

When they had all been read, Anthony began to sob and hugged lead defense attorney Jose Baez as the prosecutor Jeff Ashton shook his head in disbelief.

CBS4’s Gio Benitez got reaction from South Floridians about the shocking verdict.

Anthony’s legal troubles are not over. She was convicted of four counts of lying to a law enforcement officer, and Anthony remains in custody pending sentencing later this week. The maximum sentence is one year in prison for each count, but Anthony has already served three years, meaning that the maximum she would face would be up to one year.

It is likely she will be sentenced to time served and released.

After a round of hugs with her defense team, a now-smiling Anthony was led away by bailiffs, and her attorneys faced reporters. They took no questions, but they blasted the media legal pundits for the way Anthony’s case was handled.

“I hope that this is a lesson to those of you who have indulged in a media assassination for three years, biased, prejudice, and incompetent talking heads saying what would be and what ought to be,” said attorney Cheney Mason.

“I am disgusted by some of the lawyers who did this and I can tell you that my colleagues from coast to coast, border to border, have condemned this whole process of lawyers getting on television and talking about cases they don’t know a damn thing about.”

“I want to start off by saying while we’re happy for Casey, there are no winners in this case,” said Baez, who had been criticized for his relative inexperience, his approach to the case and his unsupported claims in trial that Caylee was the victim of an accidental drowning and cover up.

“Caylee has passed on far, far, too soon. What my driving force has been for the last three years has been always to make sure that there has been justice for Caylee and Casey because Casey did not murder Caylee, it is that simple,” he said.

“Today our system of justice has not dishonored her memory by a false conviction,” he added.

Baez also echoed Mason’s feelings that cases like these should not be tried in the media by ‘talking heads’.

“This case has brought on new challenges for all of us.  Challenges in the criminal justice system, challenges in the media, and I think we should all take this as an opportunity to learn and to realize that you cannot convict someone until they’ve had their day in court,” he said.

During their case, prosecutors argued  that Anthony killed Caylee in June 2008 because the toddler interrupted her carefree partying and love life.

Anthony’s attorneys had countered that the girl drowned in the family’s pool. They said Anthony panicked and that her father, a former police officer, decided to make the death look like a homicide by placing duct tape over the child’s mouth and dumping the body in some nearby woods. George Anthony has denied that.

Ashton told the jurors no one makes an innocent accident look like murder.

“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,” said attorney Mark Lippman, speaking for Anthony’s estranged family, who were blamed during trial for sexually abusing Casey, sexual affairs, lies and covering up Caylee’s true demise.

“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.”

Nothing was said about Casey and her escape from death row.

The verdict means that officially, Caylee Anthony’s killer is still at large. Prosecutors made no statement about what, if anything, will be done to pursue any other leads in that case. Lamar did say police and prosecutors will go back to work on the thousands of other cases they have, including other cases involving dead children.

“This is justice in America,” Lamar said.”We go forward to fight again tomorrow, with great thanks to all the people who have helped us do our duty.”

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • nathan

    What a joke. Her and OJ – not guilty.

    • 2059

      i’m not so sure about casey being innocent, but OJ was 100% innocent.

  • melissa

    REDICULOUS! Can’t believe what I just heard.

  • Callie's mom

    Her face doesn’t even look innocent.

  • Les Johnson


  • MPLS Lawyer

    I love it. TV wrong and jury correct. Another nail in the coffin of TV know it alls. Wonder if they pay her for the 3 years in prison.

    Good one Nancy Grace. Go find a new job.

    • Judge and Jury

      no they won’t pay her. she will just get time served for the counts she was found guilty of.

      • Genious lover

        Lying to the heat is a misdemeanor in MN festus. Little or no time involved. Not sure about Fla.

    • Media assassin (MN Lawyer)

      It’s an excellent point. They could and may bring the penalty up to a point to cover any liability to the state. I see it here every day.

      Personal comment: Glad to see the court made the decision and not an elected official and or the popular media.

    • Common Sense

      This is not about Nancy Grace, no matter how annoying she is, moron. This is about the fact that Casey Anthony lied about everything and showed absolutely no remorse or emotion unless the comments pertained to Casey and not Caylee. She killed her daughter and got away with it. Only an idiot thinks otherwise.

  • Joey

    I dont know what is up with you floridians….if she didnt do it..then who killed little Caylee? who choloformed her mouth ? who duct taped her mouth? who dumped her little body in that swamp right near the grandparetns home?

    the criminal justice system is a sham…..

    • TOO SAD

      Joey, your right! When things go down, no one things about that little girl Caylee and what she went through. But again, wasn’t Casey’s father a ex-cop?

    • simple simon

      Perhaps a drifter, perhaps you, perhaps we will never know. Learn to live with ambiguity son. There are more than two answers to life son…

  • TT

    What a disgrace!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Matt Woods

      It’s a Nancy Discrace! Correct verdict.

    • The real TT - somebody is a copy cat

      i didnt write that – gotta change my initials … I think this jury did a good job….

  • New does your thinking for you

    All of the lemmings who watch the news must be in shock. People wake up and turn off the tv. You all had her guilty

    I can only imagine how many light weights are FEELING something instead of facing the facts.

  • itzik

    I think that she did it, but the state did not prove it beyond reasonable doubt. It was very obvious the the man who found the body was lying and the site was contaminated. He should be charged with perjury.

    • Frank

      I agree, this county needs lawyers to actually graduate from law school, not TV

  • Madonna Mcguigan Mcgarvey

    pure disgrace!!!!!!!

  • James Wilmer

    No matter how bad people are viewed; they are more believable then the forensic evidence????

  • Bklyn Mom

    This is the most pathetic verdict! Are these jurors total morons? She is guilty as sin! OJ got his in the end and so will Casey. You can count on it!

    • Paulie

      I love it Bklyn Mom,

      Perfectly said

  • Dummies respond with more emotion

    All of the dummies will have a bad afternoon. All of those who think will move on.

    Which one are you?

    • Elisa Tharp

      People respond in their own ways. It’s just sad that the little girl didn’t receive justice today. Her mother got away with the perfect crime. Tomorrow is another day for all of us, not for Caylee though.

  • Not guilty

    Glad to see justice is served.

  • red

    Disgraceful! She was clearly guilty. Now she can go back and party after a little visit in the slammer for lying to the cops. Lets hope she doesn’t have any more kids

  • markH

    I’ve seen it all. Next thing, I’ll be told that a man can be dead for three days and then rise from grave.

  • Jinx

    WHATTTTT? This is obsurd…OJ 2.0….

  • carlos

    What is wrong with the people of Florida? More proof that our state is filled dumb, dumb, people

  • Media assassination

    Shame on Nancy Grace and Geraldo types.

    Get out of our faces with your opinion.

    You owe the public fools an apology.

  • Get a life people

    Your soap opera is over. Start feeling like fools and use the energy to move on an get a life.

    She didn’t do it and she is free.

    • kim

      What a joke she did do it HELLO! Look at all those lies ! I agree with you Carlos! That poor little girl lost her life and her mom will walk in about 4 years for murder come on people in Florida you are not very smart to let her off the hook like that. If she did not want her daughter around anymore give her to her parents or give her up for adoption instead she murders the poor little girl. What a joke!

      • Feel dont think


        Your motive is only a reflction into your own dark personality. This is what you would likely do.
        It’s in the books: Casey is not guilty. Back to the check out lines Kim before you customers hamburgers get cold.

      • Touchy Feely is sad

        Kim, they said she didn’t. Roll up your emotions and move on.

        Instead of watchingcourt tv, maybe enroll in classes or something to get you out of your rut. Learn to think darling. Will pray for you

    • The real TT - somebody is a copy cat

      apparently she didnt – nobody really knows what happened to that
      Child but God All Mighty and her mom….. Speculation wont give you answers – just more questions that you still cant answer…cause you werent there….

  • Anonymous

    What a disgusting travesty. Bunch of WIMPOUTS those jurors are. She is as guilty as sin and she got away with murdering her baby. The judicial system really SUCKS. Anytime a person can get away with murdering a child, it’s really so very sad.

  • geeM

    UNreasonable doubt. I guess the snaky lawyers are effective at planting absurd ideas. The world is flat, don’t fall off.

  • Ellen

    TThis verdict mean child killed herself

  • TT

    Maybe casey and oj can team up to write a book on how to get away with murder!!!

  • Joe

    This is Karma at it’s best. Remember this is coming from a state that cheated and foisted “Curious” George Bush on the rest of us. I’m sure you tv watchers remember that mistake that turned into two pretend wars and 8 years of failed economic policy. Good Luck!

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