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Defendant acquitted of murder in Oklahoma City

Standing trial on murder charges is a nightmare that few people will ever face. But those who are innocent of the charges face a special type of hell as they endure pre-trial incarceration while their lives hang in the balance.

One 40-year-old Oklahoma City man was recently vindicated at his trial on first-degree murder charges. Last month, the jury in an Oklahoma County courtroom returned a verdict of "not guilty," allowing the defendant to savor the taste of freedom after many months behind bars.

He was charged with killing a 41-year-old man with a shot to the chest on Aug. 7, 2015. The man got shot on the premises of an apartment complex located in Oklahoma City and later succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital.

Defense attorneys for the defendant successfully argued that their client was innocent, as the state failed "to produce any substantive evidence of guilt" in the case. As part of his defense, they pointed out that some of the prosecution's witnesses recanted their testimony and contradicted themselves in their witness statements to police.

The alleged eyewitness who had first identified the defendant as the killer later gave testimony at the preliminary hearing. She told the court that she couldn't see the shooter's face.

"The state failed to establish that its only eyewitness ever actually witnessed the identity of the gunman," read a document submitted by the defense. "She . . . lacked any personal knowledge as to the identity of the gunman involved in said shooting."

The defendant, who did not offer any testimony on his own behalf, broke down in tears when the judge read the jury's verdict in court.

One of the hardest decisions a defendant can make is whether or not to take the stand. Your Oklahoma criminal defense attorney can offer advice and guidance, but ultimately that is a decision that must be left up to the individual defendants.

Source: The Oklahoman, "Oklahoma City man acquitted of first-degree murder," Kyle Schwab, Oct. 28, 2017

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