Well, folks, that didn't take long. The jury in the Knox County, IL murder trial of James Love came back with NOT GUILTY. Not only did they acquit the 59-year-old respected farmer, they didn't even drag out deliberations long enough for a free lunch. Yes, it took them barely an hour to select a jury foreman and then vote on guilt or innocence. And then return to court to announce it.
GALESBURG — Jurors delivered a verdict of not guilty on all counts after 75 minutes of deliberation this morning in the James Love murder trial.
Both Love and Melissa Kelly, the mother of Xavier Hartman, 19, who died in the June 2018 shooting, declined comment through attorneys after the verdict was handed down by the jury and read by Circuit Associate Judge Anthony Vaupel.
Afterwards, Knox County Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Kerr said, “While we disagree with the jury’s verdict, we respect the jury’s decision.”
In a follow-up, Kerr said this was not a “loss” for the state’s attorney’s office. “It’s more of a loss for Xavier than anything else … not for myself or the state’s attorney’s office, but for Xavier.”
Defense attorney Todd Ringel also spoke to the media afterward and gave credit to Circuit Associate Judge Anthony Vaupel for the way the trial went, which did not include any outbursts from the audience.
…With that, Vaupel read the jury instructions, which included that if the jury believed there was a mitigating factor Love could be found guilty of second-degree murder.
That is if the jury believed the “defendant believes circumstances exist that would justify use of force, but that belief is unreasonable,” Vaupel read to the jury.
Deliberations began at 10:31 a.m. today. The jury was out about 75 minutes.
There's a lot more at the Galesburg Register-Mail.