A jury has ruled Gerald Stanley is innocent in the killing of Colten Boushie.
The five men and seven women of the jury made the decision after 13 hours of deliberations.
Stanley was charged with second-degree murder after Boushie died from a gunshot to the head during an altercation on Aug. 9, 2016.
Testimony through the two-week trial described how a grey SUV riding on a rim rolled into Stanley’s farmyard just after 5 p.m. that day. After one person got out and checked a gold truck on the property, the SUV moved to a nearby quad – which a man attempted to start.
Stanley and his son Sheldon told court they ran towards the shed from a fenceline they were working on, yelling at the intruders.
The SUV reversed, and Sheldon struck the windshield with a hammer.
All witnesses testified the grey SUV drove forward but veered towards a blue Ford Escape in the yard. After striking the Escape — the Stanleys say on purpose, occupants of the SUV say by accident — the vehicle with Boushie inside crawled to a stop at the end of the lawn.
Stanley said he then went into his shed and grabbed a Tokarev pistol to make noise and scare the intruders away.
He told the jury he fired two warning shots in the air, but pulled the trigger “three or four times.”
He said the extra trigger pumps were to “tell myself the gun was empty” and when he looked the slide was pulled back — indicating just that. He then said he removed the magazine to be sure.
However, Stanley said he became concerned his wife was possibly trapped under the grey SUV. He said he approached the vehicle and got into a struggle with the driver. As he reached with his left hand to turn the keys off, he said his right hand was still holding the pistol.
“It just went off,” he said.
His lawyer Scott Spencer suggested the only plausible theory was a hang fire – when a round is discharged after a delay due to slowly burning gunpowder.
In his closing arguments, Spencer told the jury what happened to Boushie was a “tragedy” but they had to put themselves in Stanley’s shoes.
“Would you have done anything different?” he asked.
While the main charge Stanley faced was second-degree murder, the jury also had the option of a manslaughter conviction if they determined Stanley killed Boushie accidentally but was “careless” with his gun.