The Meriden man accused of gunning down a New Britain teen last summer in a case known as "The Tennis Shoe Murder" was acquitted Friday and walked free after 13 months in prison.
Jonathan Gibbs, 27, was arrested in June 2013 and pleaded not guilty in May of this year. He was cleared of murder charges in court Aug. 1.
"It's like a dream," Gibbs said after jurors reached the not-guilty verdict. "I still can't believe I'm here."
Gibbs was tried in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Issaac Smith on June 16, 2013. Smith was shot in the head after allegedly tried to run off with a pair of sneakers Gibbs had posted for sale on Facebook.
A jury returned its verdict around noon after “finding [Gibbs’] sworn confession and videotaped statement that he fired the gun inadequate for a conviction,” according to a release from the public relations firm representing Gibbs' attorney.
“This is a textbook example of why no one should go to the police without a lawyer,” Gibbs’ attorney, Norm Pattis, said in a statement Friday. “The cops got this kid to confess to something he didn’t do and we are grateful to the 12 courageous jurors who set him free.”
Gibbs told jurors he didn't shoot Smith and confessed he was covering for his uncle, who he says fired the fatal shot.
"There are no winners in a murder case," Pattis said outside court. "I just want to thank the jury that set Mr. Gibbs free. It took a lot of courage to do that and we're very, very grateful to them."