LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC-TV) – Jurors found a Lake Charles teenager accused of murder not guilty on Saturday.
Israel Beverly, 19, was facing potential life in prison for the armed robbery and murder of 32-year-old Nicholas Fuselier. Fuselier was gunned down in a north Lake Charles neighborhood in October 2009.
Jurors found Beverly not guilty of one count of armed robbery and one count of second degree murder in connection to Fuselier's death. However, jurors found Fuselier guilty of armed robbery in a separate incident. Beverly's attorney, Todd Clemons, said he planned on appealing that verdict.
Outside of the Calcasieu Parish Court House, Beverly told 7 News he was relieved he was found innocent of the murder charge.
"I feel good," Beverly yelled as guards led him to a waiting correctional van. "I got a chance to go back home to my family."
For prosecutors, it was a difficult case to prove from the start.
For instance, none of Beverly's DNA was found on the victim and authorities never recovered a murder weapon; testimony from some of the state's key witnesses appeared to not only contradict each other, but also previous statements given to police; and the only known eyewitness to the crime described a suspect much different than Beverly.
Because of his conviction of armed robbery, Beverly is still in jail without bond, awaiting a Feb. 23rd sentence.