TRENTON (WWJ) - In a decision that has shocked those involved in the case, a Detroit man has been found not guilty in the murder of a Trenton man.
A jury on Tuesday acquitted Aaron Marshall of premeditated and felony murder charges in the March 2015 death of George Hite, a well-known local Little League coach who was found strangled in the Downriver condo he shared with his bedridden 94-year-old mother.
Trenton Police Department Detective Mike Oakley, who has been working the case from the beginning, told reporters he was disappointed with the jury's verdict.
"Complete shock," Oakley told WDIV. "We thought it was a slam-dunk."
Hite was found dead March 11 inside his home at the Westwood Condominiums on Daniel Drive, off of Fort Street just south of West Road. There were no signs of forced entry to the home, leading investigators to believe Hite knew his killer.
Investigators say Hite was killed — strangled with a belt — days before his body was discovered during a welfare check. His mother was present when the murder took place, authorities said, and went days without care, food or water. She was hospitalized for months after the incident.
According to court testimony, Hite and Marshall met each other at the Greektown Casino, where the two each frequented. Prosecutors provided records to the court that showed multiple text messages were exchanged between the men, and Marshall's cell phone pinged a tower Downriver around the time Hite was killed. They also said Marshall's DNA was discovered on the cable that was used to strangle Hite.
The defense called no witnesses in the case.
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