A Meriden man accused of murdering a New Britain High School student over a pair of sneakers was acquitted of murder by a jury Friday.
Jonathan Gibbs, 27, walked out of court a free man after being in jail for 13 months.
It's a moment that Gibbs won't forget. He walked out of court with his hand raised and smiling ear to ear with his attorneys by his side.
"It's like a dream, I still can't believe I'm here," said Gibbs.
Back in June 2013, Gibbs was accused of shooting 18-year-old Issacc Smith of New Britain. Smith was a high school senior and set to graduate that month.
"No words can explain the feeling," Gibbs said.
Court documents showed Smith was killed after he tried to steal a pair of sneakers he saw for sale on Facebook. Gibbs was selling the sneakers for $400 and met Smith in New Britain.
When Gibbs and his uncle showed up, he said someone approached him and gestured like they had a gun. He then took off with the Nike tennis shoes.
Gibbs' uncle grabbed a gun out of the truck and fired a warning shot, but they didn't know it hit Smith.
Gibb's attorney said police questioned Gibbs without his attorney present and without telling him Smith died.
"If Mr. Gibbs had a lawyer at that initial interview we wouldn't of had this trial," said Norm Pattis, Gibbs' attorney.
Pattis hoped this day would come and Gibbs would be free.
"I believe that the day I met him and I believe it today Jon Gibbs is a good man and I'm thrilled he is free," Pattis said.
Gibbs' attorneys also said that people should always have a lawyer present when talking with police.
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