A judge's gavel and sound block sit atop a desk.
Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murder, manslaughter or child abuse. (Photo Credit: CC BY/Brian Turner/Flickr)

WTSP 10 News Tampa Bay reports that the Casey Anthony jury has returned a verdict of not guilty. Anthony, who was accused by the prosecution of murdering her 2-year-old daughter Caylee Anthony in 2008 by suffocating her with duct tape, was found not guilty in an Orlando, Fla., courtroom on charges of first degree murder, aggravated child abuse and manslaughter. Jurors considered 33 days of testimony and two days of closing argument.

Casey Anthony faced death penalty

A jury of seven women and five men reached a verdict in the Casey Anthony trial Tuesday on the afternoon of the first full day of deliberation following the prosecution’s closing rebuttal Monday at 11 a.m. EST. The verdict was delivered by court clerk Karen Delpilar.

The Anthony jury deliberated for almost six hours before being dismissed Monday evening by Judge Belvin Perry. The jury re-convened at 8:30 a.m. EST Tuesday.

Before the verdict was read, court spokeswoman Karen Levey announced to media in attendance that if Casey Anthony, 25, was convicted of first-degree murder, the penalty phase of the Casey Anthony trial would begin 48 hours after the delivery of the verdict, with the death penalty via lethal injection as a possible result.

Anthony jury selection difficult

As Judge Perry addressed in post-verdict remarks, jury selection for the Casey Anthony trial was difficult. Media coverage for the murder trial was intense in and around the Central Florida’s Orange County, where Anthony was living. Thus, the 12 jurors and five alternates were selected from Tampa Bay in Pinellas County area and sequestered at an Orlando hotel. Reports indicate that numerous prospective jury members had to be dropped on account of bias and related reasons.

Defense claims Caylee Anthony accidentally drowned

Casey Anthony’s defense maintained that Caylee Anthony accidentally drowned in the family pool on June 16, 2008. The body was allegedly discovered by Caylee’s grandfather, George Anthony. CBS News reports that defense attorney Jose Baez told the court that Casey Anthony did not immediately report her daughter’s death because of “years of sexual abuse at the hands of her father” that had allegedly taught her to lie.

George Anthony was called to the stand by prosecution in order to refute claims related to sexual abuse. Perry instructed defense not to reference sexual abuse in closing argument, as the judge believed it had not sufficiently been proven.

Casey Anthony found guilty of misleading police

While Casey Anthony was not convicted on charges of first- or second-degree murder, manslaughter, third-degree felony murder, aggravated manslaughter of a child, or aggravated child abuse, she was found guilty of providing false information to law enforcement during the investigation into Caylee’s death. Anthony may receive up to four years in prison for providing false information regarding Caylee, who was considered a missing person at the time.

Video of Casey Anthony verdict

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4QFwEgdbIA

Sources

CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20076914-504083.html
Orlando Sentinel: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/os-casey-anthony-verdict-20110704,0,1425780.story
WTSP 10 News Tampa Bay: http://www.wtsp.com/news/article/199693/250/Casey-Anthony-Verdict-NOT-GUILTY

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