Sharron Nicole Redmond admitted shooting her boyfriend outside the home of another woman he was dating but said she thought he was reaching for a gun. He did not have a weapon.
Redmond, 23, had faced an automatic life sentence if convicted of Kevin Shorter's 2003 slaying. Four months earlier she had been crowned Miss Savannah.
The jury of nine women and three men deliberated for a little more than nine hours over two days.
Redmond gasped and sobbed as she heard the verdict.
One of her attorneys, Michael Schiavone, said Redmond felt "like the weight of the world was off her shoulders. You have no idea what it feels like to be accused of a crime like murder, being one step from walking into the lockup for the rest of your life or walking out the back door with me."
Shorter, 25, had dated both Redmond and Rachel Hall for about three years. Both women said Redmond went to Hall's home the night of the shooting to clear up allegations that she had made harassing phone calls to Hall, and both testified that they talked peacefully.
Shorter arrived soon after Redmond and shouted angrily at her, using sexual insults.
Prosecutors argued that Redmond shot Shorter in jealous anger after, in Hall's presence, he told the beauty queen he no longer wanted her and she was good for nothing but sex.
Redmond testified that she intended the shot as a warning and said she didn't aim at Shorter. Crime scene photos showed a dent on Shorter's car where the bullet appeared to have ricocheted before hitting him in the right buttock, severing his femoral artery. Shorter died from blood loss three days later at a hospital.
Redmond said Shorter had beaten her throughout their relationship.
By Russ Bynum