Posted at: 06/12/2014 11:46 AM
Updated at: 06/12/2014 6:04 PM
By: Dan Bazile
TROY - There were hugs and some tears inside the Rensselaer County courtroom after the verdict was read. After many years in jail and two trials for the same alleged crime, Adrian Thomas walked out of court a free man. His mother outside the courtroom was relieved to see her son set free.
"He spent so many year in prison. He was innocent," said Thomas' mother Annie Pearl Black.
It's been a five-year legal battle for the Troy Man who was facing second degree murder in the death of his son, 4-month old Matthew Dante Thomas. The incident happened back in September of 2008. Thomas was convicted of the alleged crime in 2009. But the conviction was overturned by a higher court that ruled police lied to Thomas to get him to confess.
"After the Court of Appeals suppressed the defendant's confession, it took away the evidence that we did have in this case," said Rensselaer County Assistant District Attorney Christa Book.
In this trial, prosecutors brought in a witness they said was in jail with Thomas when he admitted to killing little Matthew. The jury also heard testimony from medical experts. The prosecution said the young victim died of head trauma caused by his dad. The defense argued the death was caused by a bacterial infection.
"There's no question he died form Sepsis. It thought the people's argument he didn't die from sepsis, the jury didn't buy that," said defense attorney Steve Coffey
One juror told Newschannel 13 there was just not enough to convict Thomas of second degree murder.
"The jury looked at this charge and felt he should be acquitted, which is what he should have been," Coffey said.
"Although we're very disappointed with this verdict, we obviously respect their verdict," Book said.