Jury finds Charles Wilhite not guilty in second murder trial - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Jury finds Charles Wilhite not guilty in second murder trial

Photo courtesy Masslive and The Republican Photo courtesy Masslive and The Republican
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

After less than five hours of deliberations, a jury has found Charles Wilhite not guilty of murder in a second trial.

For the first time since his 2010 conviction, Charles Wilhite hugged family members, and held his young daughter Iesha, a free man after serving more than three years in prison.

"I feel great," Wilhite said moments after being discharged.

Moments before his release, CBS 3 cameras were the only ones rolling as the jury read their verdict to a packed courtroom.

Some family members and supporters were thrown out of the courtroom after it erupted with cheers.

Family members who publicly battled for years to get Wilhite a retrial gathered down the hall to celebrate.

"We saw a lot of efforts and our work in the community pay off as a not-guilty verdict," said Wilhite's aunt, Vira Cage.

In 2010, Wilhite was convicted of murdering Alberto Rodriguez in front of the Pine Street Market.

Last year he was granted a re-trial after a key witness recanted his statements.

Down the hall in District Attorney Mark Mastroianni's office, the mood was not so celebratory.

"As a prosecutor's office we're disappointed with the verdict, but we have to respect the jury....this case on the same set of facts, same circumstances, was a conviction, Wilhite was convicted by a jury," Mastroianni said.

But Thursday, Wilhite walked out of the courthouse as a free man, thanking his family for supporting him since his conviction.

"Thank you and I appreciate it all," he said.

Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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