The jury in the Casey Anthony murder trial found her not guilty of the most serious charges of murder, manslaughter and aggravated child abuse. They did, however, find her guilty of lying to law enforcement officials. As Sarah Anne Hughes reported:
Casey Anthony has been found not guilty of murdering her daughter Caylee Anthony.
The seven women and five men of the Florida jury deliberated for more than 10 hours and returned guilty charges of providing false information to law enforcement officials, but found the 25-year-old not guilty of manslaughter or murder.
She was acquitted of the first three charges: murder in the first degree, aggravated child abuse, and aggravated manslaughter of a child. But she was convicted of the four counts of providing false information to law enforcement officials.
“While we’re happy for Casey, there are no winners in this case,” Jose Baez, her defense attorney, said at a press conference.
The maximum sentence is one year per count.
Anthony was accused of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, by covering her mouth in duct tape. The prosecution said Anthony disposed of her child’s body and resumed living her life. The defense argued that Caylee accidentally drowned in the family’s pool, and that Anthony and her father, George Anthony, decided to stage the death to look like a homicide.
She was arrested in September, 2008 and indicted on charges of felony murder, aggravated child abuse and other charges in October.
The case has received a huge amount of media coverage, with over 600 press credentials requested for the trial.
“You cannot convict someone until they’ve had their day in court,” Baez said, referring to the media coverage of the case.
Nancy Grace, who devoted large portions of her show on HLN to the Casey Anthony trial in recent months, was outraged at the verdict. As Sarah Anne Hughes explained:
When Casey Anthony was declared not guilty of murdering her daughter Caylee on Tuesday, the immediate response to the verdict outside the courtroom, online and on television was highly emotional.
Nancy Grace, who has given the case a huge amount of attention since it began almost three years ago, tweeted the verdict as, “Hard to believe.” In the first minutes of her HLN show that evening she declared, “The devil is dancing tonight.”
“She may be celebrating now, but she will ultimately pay,” an outraged Grace said of Anthony. “As the defense sits by and has their champagne toast after that not guilty verdict, somewhere out there the devil is dancing tonight.”
There were also heated words from Grace’s panelists, including an outraged Susan Moss who said, “We’ve been O.J.’d.”
Parallels to the O.J. Simpson trial’s outcome were also drawn by those assembled outside of the Florida courthouse. Some chanted, “Justice for Caylee,” while others wept as cable news camera rolled. People gathered to watch the verdict in a nearby cafe reacted with shock, as video shows.
While Casey was found not guilty of murder, she was found guilty of lying to law enforcement officials about her daughter’s dissapearance. This has some clamoring for a ’Caylee’s Law’ to require parents to notify police of their missing children. As Elizabeth Flock reported:
When Florida mother Casey Anthony was found not guilty of first-degree murder or manslaughter of her two-year-old daughter Caylee Tuesday, many Americans who had followed the case were outraged, including an woman in Oklahoma who decided to start a petition for a “Caylee’s Law.”
One of the sticking points of the Casey Anthony case was the fact that Anthony never notified law enforcement that her daughter was missing, which led to her being found guilty of four counts of the misdemeanor crime of lying to investigators. Caylee was last seen on June 16, 2008, but her grandmother, Cindy Anthony, didn’t notify the police until July 15, a month later.
Oklahoman Michelle Crowder, who is a mother of two daughters, says parents need to report their child’s disappearance immediately, and has started a Change.org petition and Facebook page to ask Congress to create a law to enforce that. “Caylee’s Law” would make it a federal offense and a felony for a parent or guardian to fail to report a child’s disappearance to law enforcement.
“When I saw that Casey Anthony had been found not guilty in the murder of little Caylee, and that she was only being convicted of lying to the police about her disappearance, I was sickened,” Crowder says.
“I could not believe she was not being charged with child neglect or endangerment, or even obstruction of justice.”
More from The Washington Post
BlogPost: The Casey Anthony verdict
For God’s Sake: Why are we so obsessed with the Casey Anthony trial?