Published July 05, 2011
ORLANDO, Fla – A Florida jury on Tuesday found Casey Anthony not guilty of murder in the June 16, 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, in a case that riveted millions since Caylee was first reported missing that year.
The defense had argued that Caylee died in an accidental drowning.
The prosecution said she smothered her daughter and asked for a first degree murder verdict that could have brought the death penalty for the 25-year-old.
Jurors deliberated nearly 11 hours over two days.
The jury also found Anthony not guilty of aggravated child abuse or aggravated manslaughter of a child.
She was found guilty of four counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer.
Anthony appeared visibly nervous ahead of the verdict, downcast and biting her lip.
She sobbed after the jury's not guilty finding on the murder count was read, and finally broke into a broad smile after the proceedings ended, hugging the defense team.
But there was no contact with her mother and father, who left the courtroom without speaking to her.
Anthony had initially told detectives that Caylee had been kidnapped by a nanny, triggering a nationwide search that ended on December 11, 2008.
That's when Caylee's skeletal remains were found in woods near the Anthony family home with duct tape dangling from her skull.
The trial lasted for seven weeks and caught the attention of much of the nation, with curiosity fed by live coverage of testimony on cable news. The notoriety of the case has prompted comparisons to the murder trial of O.J. Simpson.