Man Jailed 4 Years Awaiting Trial is Acquitted of Murder

An undated image of a courtroom gavel.
NBC Connecticut

A Connecticut jury has cleared a man of a murder charge after he spent more than four years in jail awaiting trial.

Brandyn Grant-Ford shed tears after the jury's verdict on Friday in Bridgeport, the Connecticut Post reported, and his attorney called the day "truly amazing."

The 29-year-old Stratford man had been charged in the fatal shooting of Andre Pettway in Stratford in May 2017. Prosecutors had alleged Grant-Ford planned the shooting that occurred at an outdoor birthday party, and also acted as the getaway driver.

Grant-Ford initially denied being at the scene but police testified he later said he was driving in the neighborhood when a passenger began firing from the back seat after the car was fired at.

None of the witnesses called by the prosecution could say who shot Pettway, or that they saw a gun in Grant-Ford's hand, the Post reported. Grant-Ford also was acquitted of conspiracy to commit murder, reckless endangerment and other charges.

The trial was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic that forced the closure of courthouses around the country and eventually shifted some proceedings online. The trial was the first jury trial held in the Bridgeport courthouse since the beginning of the pandemic.

It took about two weeks for the jury to be selected, and the panel deliberated for about a day and a half after hearing testimony.

"It is truly amazing and causes one to be optimistic that in the wake of the recent pandemic that if anything, we may be coming out of the pandemic stronger than we went in," Grant-Ford's lawyer, John R. Gulash, said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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