Charles Thompson was acquitted of second degree murder following a three-day trial Wednesday night.
Thompson was charged with the February 2015 killing of Johnny Evans in Jefferson City.
He had been facing a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Thompson was also found not guilty of attempted robbery, but guilty of a burglary charge.
“We’re just ready [for] Charles to be a living testimony,” Yolanda Jones, Thompson’s mother, said after the verdict to ABC 17 News. “And to just move on and get this behind us, and move on with his life.”
Thompson’s attorney, public defender David Wallis, focused on the inconsistent statements made by the two men with Thompson the day Johnny Evans was shot to death. Both Vincent Smith and Robert Burks testified at trial, and are both charged with murder in Evans’ death. While both implicated Thompson as the one who shot Evans, Wallis brought up the deals they made with the Cole County prosecution team in exchange for their testimony.
“[The prosecution] relied on two eyewitnesses, their only eyewitnesses, who received great deals from the state,” Wallis said. “And when you introduce that to the jury, and it suggests that it goes to their credibility. They had some real issues.”
The jury of seven women and five men took more than three hours to decide on their verdict, acquitting Thompson of the three charges related to his possession of gun that day. However, the burglary charge stems from the break-in of Evans’ apartment on February 15 on East High Street. Jefferson City police said it was Thompson and Smith that broke in, and that while Evans was rising from the couch, Smith heard a bang, and saw Thompson holding a gun. The two got away, with Burks driving them.
Judge Patricia Joyce did not set a date for sentencing on the burglary charge Wednesday night.
“God showed up in a mighty way that nobody else could do,” Jones said. “It was nobody but God.”