Casey Anthony Found Not Guilty, Reaction Mixed

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After 33 days of testimony and less than 24 hours of deliberation, a Florida jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

The jury of seven women and five men met for about 11 hours over two days. Judge Belvin Perry presented the verdict Tuesday at 2:15 p.m.

"While we're happy for Casey, there are no winners in this case," Defense attorney Jose Baez said in a press conference following the verdict.

"Today our system of justice has not dishonored her (Caylee Anthony) memory by a false conviction," he added.

Not-guilty verdicts were reached for the charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and manslaughter.

Anthony, 25, was found guilty on four counts of lying to authorities who investigated her daughter's disappearance -- all misdemeanors. Sentencing will be held Thursday for those convictions.

Following their verdict, the jury refused to comment on their decision. The jurors' names were also withheld "until further notice" -- likely for security reasons.

Prosecutors claimed that Anthony killed her daughter in June 2008 so she wouldn't have to care for her anymore, and could continue a life of partying.

Defense attorneys argued the child accidentally drowned in the family pool, and Casey's father George -- a former police officer -- came up with the idea of making the accident look like a murder.

Casey Anthony's parents showed no reaction as the not guilty verdict was read, and walked out of the courtroom shortly after. Casey Anthony held back tears as she learned her fate.

Later Tuesday, defense attorney Cheney Mason scolded those "who have indulged in media assassination" and bias since the case began three years ago.

"Now you've learned a lesson," Mason said.

"You cannot convict someone until they've had their day in court," Baez added.

Reaction to the Casey Anthony decision has been mixed, but many are admittedly shocked.  As the trial developed, several legal analysts predicted a guilty verdict while others made the case for reasonable doubt.

On the CBN News Facebook page, one viewer wrote, "Diminishes my faith in the justice system. She will answer to Someone more powerful...the Righteous Judge!"

"People they had to say not guilty of murder (because) they could not directly tie her to her child's death," another person wrote. "Her lawyer made sure that she looked guilty of knowing her child died, but not who killed her diverted the attention elsewhere."

In response to the public's fascination with the Casey Anthony's trial, family therapist and author Linda Mintle recently wrote a blog titled "Moms Who Kill Their Children."

Mintle said she hadn't been following Anthony's trial, but the case did lead her to question what drives a mother to kill her child.

"Understanding motivation may help families look for signs of child endangerment," Mintle wrote. "The death of a child at the hands of her own mother is a tragedy we need to prevent."

She said research shows there are five main motives that might motivate a mother to murder:

  • Maltreatment or chronic abuse.
  • Mental illness, including thoughts that killing the child would be a deed of love.
  • The child is unwanted.
  • The mom is psychotic.
  • The "Medea syndrome," or killing a child as revenge against a partner.

Mintle added that psychologists say homicidal mothers can also be detached or neglectful moms who act out of rage.

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