Casey Anthony upon her release
07/17/2011 at 12:20 AM EDT
Just after midnight, as hundreds of protesters jeered and called her a baby killer, Casey Anthony became a free woman.
Wearing blue jeans and a bright pink top, Anthony, 25, walked out of the front door of the Orange County Booking and Release Center in Orlando, Fla., at 12:14 a.m. Sunday.
"She had a look of relief on her face," said Tony Zumbado, a photographer selected by the jail to witness her release. "There was a smile on her face. She looked glad to be out of there."
She had been given $537.68, the remaining money in her inmate account, and provided a police escort into a gray SUV, which drove her off into the hot, humid Florida night.
An angry crowd had formed outside the jail. Police on horseback tried to maintain control of the more than 300 people.
"Casey, rot in hell!" yelled one person. Others shouted, "Casey, you killed your daughter!"
Her release came three years after the story of little Caylee Anthony
gripped the nation.
Her mother Casey was arrested, tried and acquitted
of murdering the girl.
The shocking not guilty verdict, which has been highly unpopular
with the public, meant that Anthony served just minimal time behind bars for lying to law enforcement, before her Sunday release.
She previously spent 997 days in the Orange County, Fla. Jail while awaiting trial.
Though she's reclaimed her freedom
, Anthony may not be free from legal troubles: she faces a defamation lawsuit
and must appear at an Orlando law firm in October.