[h=1]Casey Anthony found not guilty of murdering daughter Caylee [/h] Florida jury acquits mother of killing 2-year-old toddler who went missing in 2008 and was found dead six months later Chris McGreal in Washington guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 5 July 2011 20.45 BST Article history Casey Anthony, right, at a court in Orlando, Florida, after being found not guilty of murdering her two-year-old daughter Caylee. Photograph: Red Huber/AP A Florida jury on Tuesday cleared a young mother, Casey Anthony, of murdering her two-year-old daughter, rejecting the portrayal of her as "a lying, no-good slut" who would rather go nightclubbing than rear her child. The jury unanimously found Anthony, 25, not guilty on murder, manslaughter and child abuse charges in a case that has gripped US talk shows and cable news television. But as she sobbed with relief at the verdicts on the more serious charges she was, however, convicted of lying to the police after claiming that her daughter, Caylee, had been abducted by a nanny when Anthony was driving around with the body of her child in the boot of her car. Anthony would have faced a possible death sentence had she been convicted of first degree murder but will serve no more than four years in prison when she is sentenced on Thursday. The verdict was met with outrage by some outside the court who denounced it as a miscarriage of justice comparable to OJ Simpson's acquittal for murder. But Anthony's lawyers praised the jury for resisting what they portrayed as the "media assassination" of their client since her arrest particularly by television talk show hosts and celebrity lawyers who pronounced her guilty before the trial was over. Prosecutors had alleged that Anthony murdered Caylee because she stood in the way of her party lifestyle and interest in men. They told the jury that she killed her daughter, in part with the use of chloroform, in 2008 and then buried her body in woods near the family home in Orlando several weeks later. Caylee's corpse was found with three strips of duct tape over her mouth and nose. Anthony's father, George, told the court that his daughter left home in June, 2008 taking Caylee with her and did not return for a month. Anthony's parents asked repeatedly to see the child but their daughter told them she was too busy with work. Anthony also claimed that Caylee was being looked after by a nanny. It was later established that the nanny did not exist. Anthony maintained that claim until her parents received a notice that their daughter's car had been towed. When they went to pick it up, George Anthony said that he noticed a strong odour from the boot that he and a worker in the tow yard both told the court smelled like a decomposing body. Anthony's mother, Cindy, then called the police and reported Caylee missing. "There is something wrong. I found my daughter's car today and it smells like there's been a dead body in the damn car," she told the emergency operator. The prosecution honed in on Anthony's failure to report her daughter missing during those 31 days. "Responses to grief are as varied as the day is long, but responses to guilt are oh, so predictable," the lead prosecutor, Linda Drane Burdick, said. "What do guilty people do? They lie. They avoid. They run. They mislead, not just to their family, but the police. They divert attention away from themselves and they act like nothing is wrong. That's why you heard about what happened in those 31 days." The prosecution relied on controversial scientific evidence including the testing of air taken from the boot of Anthony's car which the court was told revealed the presence of decomposing human flesh and chloroform. The defence challenged the reliability of the tests. The judge refused to permit the prosecution to have the jury sniff a can containing an air sample from the car. Before the case went to the jury, Burdick showed two images of Anthony at a nightclub after Caylee went missing and of a tattoo with the words "beautiful life" in Italian that the prosecution said she obtained after her daughter was already dead. "At the end of this case, all you have to ask yourself is whose life was better without Caylee?" the prosecutor said. "This is your answer." But the jury rejected that explanation and accepted the defence's contention that Anthony was guilty of nothing more than being a panic stricken young mother who covered up an accidental death out of fear. The defence said that Caylee had drowned in the family swimming pool and that her mother then panicked. It claimed that Anthony's father knew about the accident and helped his daughter dispose of the body. It said that George Anthony, a former police officer, placed the tape over the dead girls face to make it look like murder in order to cover up the failure to report the death. The man denied his daughter's account. The defence also claimed that Casey Anthony had been sexually abused by her father and brother and that was a factor in her erratic behaviour Anthony's lawyer, Jose Baez, said that the prosecution had attempted to portray his client as "a lying, no-good slut" who murdered her daughter in order to go nightclubbing when in fact Caylee's death was "an accident that snowballed out of control". One of the prosecutor's, Jeff Ashton, told the jury that the defence failed to present any real evidence to back any of its claims and that the allegation that George Anthony staged a murder to cover up a lesser crime made no sense. "That's absurd. Nothing has been presented to you to make that any less absurd," he said. But the jury was not persuaded that Anthony killed her daughter either deliberately or by accident. The prosecution's case appears to have foundered on the lack of a definitive medical assessment of how Caylee died, uncertainty about what role the chloroform was meant to have played and the lack of any scientific evidence tying Anthony to her daughter's death. Outside the court, the verdict was met with astonishment and anger. "Where's justice for Caylee?" Janine Gonzalez told the Orlando Sentinel. "Do you mean to tell me that in Florida you can kill your child, toss her on the side of the road and go free? She (Casey Anthony) better move and move to a faraway place." Ti McLeod, a neighbour of the Anthony family, said: "The justice system has failed Caylee." But Joe Adamson, an Orlando businessman, was sceptical about the prosecution's use of forensics. "I think it is really great that we have science, but we also have common sense," Adamson told the Sentinel. "These guys (jurors) didn't buy into science fiction." Prosecutors were clearly stunned by the verdict, saying that they were amazed the jury rejected what they portrayed as a wealth of evidence against Anthony. Lawson Lamar, the Florida state attorney, said: "We're disappointed in the verdict today because we know the facts and we've put in absolutely every piece of evidence that existed. ... This is a dry-bones case. Very, very difficult to prove. The delay in recovering little Caylee's remains worked to our considerable disadvantage." Anthony's parents were reported to have gone in to hiding following death threats. "The family may never know what happened to Caylee Marie Anthony," said Mark Lippman, a lawyer for the parents. "Despite the baseless defence 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 they were given by the Honorable Judge Perry to guide them." After the verdict, one of Anthony's lawyers, Cheney Mason, condemned the "media assassination" of his client since her arrest, including by other lawyers who appeared on television talkshows to pronounce her guilty before the trial was over. "Bias and prejudice and incompetent 'talking heads' saying what would be and how to be - I'm disgusted by some of the lawyers that have done this. I can tell you that my colleagues from coast to coast and 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," he said. Among those who have been the focus of criticism is Nancy Grace, the presenter of a show on CNN, who has almost doubled her ratings since the trial began with ritual pronouncements that the "tot mom", as she calls Anthony, was guilty. Grace defended the media in comments on the CNN website. "I find it interesting that his first reaction was to attack the media like we had something to do with it," she said. "We didn't have anything to do with it; this was all tot mom... There is no way that this is a verdict that speaks the truth." But Baez, said: "I think we should all take this as an opportunity to learn and to realise that you cannot convict someone until they've had their day in court."