Wounded by Love

Startled by what she thought was an intruder in her home, Fla. realtor Caryn Kelly grabbed a gun. Moments later, her boyfriend was dead. What role would cell phone video of the shooting’s aftermath play in the case against her?

Produced by Paul LaRosa and Michele Feuer

[This story first aired on April 5, 2014. It was updated on June 13, 2015.]

Orlando, Fla., has built its reputation as a major tourist destination. But to locals like Tamara Lawton, it doesn't always feel that way.

"Orlando's a pretty small town," Lawton explained. A small town where she sometimes ran into her ex-boyfriend, Phillip Peatross.

"He saw me twice when we were out in public and once I was with some other people and the other time I was on a date and he just walked up and he said, 'Hey how are you doing?' and that was it," said Lawton.

Caryn Kelley and Phillip Peatross Caryn Kelley

Phillip Peatross always had a woman by his side. For more than 25 years that woman was his wife, Sandra. After they broke up, he dated Lawton for four years until she left him. Now, his latest love was local realtor Caryn Kelley.

"What were some of the fun things you and Phillip liked to do together?" Roberts asked Kelley.

"We loved to do just about anything ... it was fun to go visit friends around Florida. We loved to go on the boat - travel ... concerts, jazz festivals," she explained, "we just did everything that normal people do."

"What were your impressions of him?" Roberts asked.

"That he was a great guy," said Kelley.

A great guy with movie star looks.

"He's very good looking, very good looking. Great smile. Gentle demeanor," Lawton said. "... great sense of humor, great sense of humor..."

Peatross' allure went beyond his appearance. He was a well-grounded and caring father who doted on his four daughters, two of them adopted.

"One of the very first things that he said is, 'I have children.' And I thought, 'well, so?' But I didn't understand how important they were to him," an emotional Lawton explained.

"His oldest daughter, he loved her intellect. Really smart girl and loved to talk to her ... And his second daughter, he said she had a heart of gold, just a sweet, sweet girl and his third daughter ... he loved her spunk," Lawton said with a laugh. "... and his youngest daughter was almost a part of his body ... she was, they were so close."

But Peatross clearly did not feel that way about his estranged wife, Sandra, who had extramarital affairs while they were together.

"I asked him how he got along ... and he said, 'Well, we don't really speak to each other.' We do everything by texts," said Kelley.

Including throwing barbs at each other over Sandra's infidelity:

You manipulated me for the last time - how was I so stupid that you chose a married man, in fact, over me - Text from Peatross to Kelley

"He got burned," Roberts commented to Kelley.

"Yes. Pretty bad. I don't think he ever recovered," she replied.

In Caryn Kelley, Phillip Peatross seemed to have found a new love he hoped he could count on.

"Phillip was a very kind, gentle man. He was actually a gentleman, opening car doors and just always wanting to show his girls how they should be treated by a man," Kelley said. "Phillip treated me like a princess. I mean, just amazing every day."

But then came the night of July 27, 2011. After a night of drinking, Kelley says she and Peatross began arguing about her new job. He was afraid she'd meet a lot of men who might find her a bit too attractive.

"We stayed up and talked from 10 to about midnight or shortly after and I wanted to go to bed ... and he simply did not want to stop talking," said Kelley.

Kelley says Peatross finally decided to leave. "And I had yelled to him, 'Don't leave. Don't drive drunk. That would be stupid.'"

But Peatross insisted on leaving, so Kelley says she warned him that she kept a handgun under her bed.

"So that's when I said, 'Fine, go then, just go. Don't come back unannounced,'" said Kelley.

"And when he left, he was angry," Roberts noted.

"Yes, evidently," she replied.

Hours later, at 4:45 a.m., Kelley says she awoke from a deep sleep to hear someone in her house. She was afraid it was someone she'd had a real estate dispute with, a man who lived nearby. She grabbed her .38 caliber revolver and cocked the hammer. She was ready to take aim and fire.

"Did you say 'Who is this?' Did you shout?" Roberts asked.

"Yeah, basically I said, 'Don't come near me' whoever it was, before I could see him in the doorway," Kelley replied.

But it was Peatross. Kelley could see him from the glowing light coming off her television.

"...he started pounding on his chest like, 'What are you gonna do? Shoot me?'" Kelley said. "And I'm like, 'No, I'm not gonna shoot you.'

"...at that point in time I had had the gun up over my head and he had come across the room, he said, 'Let me do it. I'll do it'" she continued.

"And he put the gun to his head and I shouted, screaming at him, 'stop don't do it, don't do it, it's loaded' ... and he told me twice, 'I'm not gonna live my life without you." And he shot himself.'"

The cell phone video, recorded by an Orlando police officer minutes after the shooting, captures Kelley's raw emotions. She appears to be intoxicated as she explains what happened.

Officer: Is she drunk or something?

Caryn Kelley: and it was like hey, don't come here with me with me... [unintelligible] ... Put it to his... Gonna shoot me, gonna shoot me ...

"...he had come across the room and said, 'Let me do it. I'll do it' and grabbed my arm and took the gun from me," Kelley told Roberts.

Kelley says Peatross had control of the gun when it went off -- a single bullet striking him in the right cheek.

"Did he die instantly?" Roberts asked Kelley.

Accident or suicide? 911 call gives different versions of shooting

"I was hoping and praying that I would be able to revive him. I asked them on 911 what can I do," she replied.

Caryn Kelley: Come quick, come you can help him, baby, baby, oh my god, I don't know what to do, I don't ... what can I do to help him quickly ... [screaming]

911 operator: OK, they are on their way to you.

Peatross died at the scene before paramedics arrived.

"What did you think when you began to learn more about the circumstances surrounding the shooting?" Roberts asked Lawton.

"Well, the number one thing that most anyone does, which I did, is denial. It couldn't be true. It just couldn't be true," she replied. "... he was ... very non-aggressive."

"Non-aggressive?" Roberts asked.

"Non-aggressive," Lawton repeated. "... no one that ever met him would ever have said he was anything but very sweet, quiet and polite."

Police believe Kelley was the aggressor that night and fired that fatal shot. But did the prosecutor have enough evidence to charge Caryn Kelley with murder?


Orlando police were skeptical of Caryn Kelley's story almost from the moment she opened her mouth in the early morning hours of July 27, 2011.

Caryn Kelley | Cell phone video: All of a sudden I wake up in the middle of the night and somebody's in my house.

In the cell phone video taken by police shortly after the shooting, one officer reacts to Kelley's story:

Caryn Kelley: I have a weapon and you know I'm gonna use it if you're coming in my house and I don't know who it is.

Officer: Look at her, that's her defense, she's already coming up with the defense.

"What do you make of the initial phases of the police investigation?" Roberts asked Kelley's former lawyer, Diana Tennis. "I understand law enforcement needs to make some assessments quickly," she said. "I don't like that they treated her as if she had been tried and convicted."

Cell phone video captures raw emotion after fatal shooting

Tennis says the officers even joked around, provoking Kelley -- who called them on it:

Caryn Kelley: Think that's funny?

First officer: No. Nothing's funny ma'am.

Caryn Kelley: This is funny? I'm in f-----g shock and you think this is funny? First officer: Nobody's laughing. You just shot somebody.

Caryn Kelley: It's not funny.

First officer: Nobody's laughing.

Second officer: You just shot somebody in the head. Why would we be laughing?

"I don't like that they said to her face when she's trying to explain to them tearfully what happened, when they basically said told her, 'you just shot somebody in the head' I think that's horrible," said Tennis.

In the hours after the shooting, police put Kelley - still wearing her nightgown and wrapped in a blanket -- in an interrogation room where, for the first time, she learns of Peatross' fate:

Caryn Kelley: Is my boyfriend OK?

Det. Sprague: Um, no, he's not OK hon, and I apologize that it took us so long to get here...

Caryn Kelley: What do you mean he's not OK? Like, is he in the hospital?

Det. Sprague: Um, your boyfriend has passed away.

Caryn Kelley: Nooo.

Det. Sprague: I'm really sorry, Caryn, can you tell me about him? Caryn Kelley: Oh my god, he was the love of my life.

Caryn Kelley finds out her boyfriend is dead

Despite Kelley's obvious distress, the detectives press her to tell them what happened. Earlier in the evening, she seems to tell the officers outside her house that Peatross may have committed suicide:

Caryn Kelley: He took my arm, he took the handle and he put it to his head ...

But now, she tells the officers Peatross' shooting was an accident:

Caryn Kelley [crying]: He fought me for the gun and he pointed it somewhere and it went off and I didn't want to shoot him and he didn't want to shoot himself but it went off and I was like 'Oh my god' I can't believe it, that even happened.
What happened inside Caryn Kelley's bedroom?

But a minute later, police believe that Kelley contradicts herself yet again. Her story goes from her knowing to not knowing that the intruder was Peatross:

Caryn Kelley: He came at me in the dark and I didn't know who he was...

At that point, after hearing multiple versions of Kelley's story, detectives give her the Miranda warning. It only then dawns on Kelley that she may need a lawyer:

Caryn Kelley: Here's the thing, I don't have an attorney present now, right? I just shouldn't even answer these questions ... I'm the only one living so I look like I've done something bad.

Caryn Kelley realizes she may be a suspect in death of boyfriend

So how did Phillip Peatross die? No fingerprints could be lifted off the gun which contained DNA from both Kelley and Peatross. So investigators had to tackle three possibilities: either Kelley shot him intentionally, Peatross committed suicide or there was a struggle and the gun went off accidentally.

"When Caryn first contacted me, she was still in jail on no bond. She was extremely upset. She was extremely frightened ... and she really needed a lawyer," said Tennis, who is well-known in Orlando, often appearing on television to give her legal opinions on high-profile cases like the Trayvon Martin shooting and the Casey Anthony case.

After interviewing Kelley, Tennis was convinced that she had stuck to one basic fact - that Peatross was responsible for his own death. But Kelley's raw emotions made it difficult for the police to make sense of her story.

"So you believe your own words hurt you?" Roberts asked Kelley.

"Yes, I believe so, but I also believe they were misconstrued ... law enforcement wants to say that I had changed my story which in fact I did not," she explained. "I would have never taken the gun out from under my bed had I known it was him, had he given me -- given me a phone call, had he called my home phone, my cell phone, or if he knocked on -- on the door, if he rang a doorbell.

"I wouldn't have been startled. I wouldn't have thought an intruder was in my house to do me harm," Kelley continued.

But neighbors told police they heard Kelley and Peatross arguing earlier that night and there was the issue of alcohol. Peatross' blood alcohol level was .11, over the legal limit and roughly the equivalent of four drinks.

"He left though, wasn't he drunk?" Roberts asked Kelley.

"Yes," she replied. "And were you intoxicated as well?" Roberts asked.

"I had been drinking earlier with him and my neighbor. And so I had -- I had a few drinks before 12--12 o'clock, yes," Kelley replied.

Tamara Lawton heard from friends that Caryn Kelley sometimes had more than a few drinks.

"The only thing that they ever told me was that she used prescription drugs to an excess and drank too much," said Lawton. "Did Phillip ever talk to you about her?" Roberts asked. "When I asked him, 'where's your girlfriend?' he said she was passed out.

Police believed Kelley was drunk, but they never performed a blood alcohol test. Investigators did notice that Kelley literally had Peatross' blood on her hands and took photographs.

Investigators did not find Caryn Kelley believable. She was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Kelley was shocked, but was released on bond after spending 16 days in jail.

"I certainly didn't think I would be arrested. I absolutely, 100 percent believed in my heart and knew that they would see how there's no way that anybody else could have shot him, except himself," she told Roberts.

But Tennis says the shock of being charged turned to outrage when Kelley learned Peatross had kept a secret.

"...one of the things that was most upsetting to her and probably the most emotional that I saw her during the entire couple of years is the day she found out that Phillip Peatross was still married to Sandra," said Tennis. Peatross had lied - he was not divorced from his wife, Sandra.

"Had he told me that he was married, I would've paid for him to get divorced," said Kelley.

Why did Peatross lie? Probably because of his experience with Tamara Lawton, who wound up leaving him because of this very issue.

"That teaches Phillip Peatross that when you love a woman ... she better not know you're married because at some point you're gonna lose her over that fact," Tennis said. "And I think that was a big part of that lie he had to tell Caryn."

Peatross' lie consumed Kelley so much that Tennis sat her down for a heart-to- heart talk.

"'Listen, this is bad, but really in the big scheme of things, there's just other things that we need to worry about right now ... and I need your emotional energy," Tennis said she told Kelley. "' ... we can't be wasting it on this issue that we can't do anything about and that is in the past.'"

About a month later, after interviewing Peatross' family and friends, police believed they had found Kelley's motive for killing Phillip.

Police learned that Peatross was planning to leave Kelley before his daughter's upcoming wedding because she didn't get along with his children. Police theorized that Peatross had told Kelley he was breaking up with her and that led to an argument the night of the shooting.

"The dead don't speak. We have to look at what the circumstances are and see if we can help put the pieces of the puzzle together," said Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jan Garavaglia.

Can forensics reveal what really happened the night of Peatross' shooting?


"...her story changed so many times ... I'm there to try to help truly figure out what happened," said then Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jan Garavaglia, who did the autopsy on Phillip Peatross. "When some person dies from something you did introduce a loaded gun -- to a domestic argument and one person's dead ... That needs to be looked at very carefully.

Dr. Garavaglia has conducted over 6,000 autopsies, including the highly- publicized Caylee Anthony case. She also had her own TV series, "Dr. G: Medical Examiner".

Asked to describe Peatross' injuries, Dr. Garavaglia told Roberts. "He had a single gunshot wound to the right side of his cheek, which is very unusual.

"It's an odd angle ... circumstances that don't suggest suicide," Garavaglia continued. "... also - she ... clearly stated when she called 911 that -- when they asked her if he had the gun-- she said, 'No, I did.'"

With so many versions of her story, it would be up to the medical examiner to determine what really happened.

"He told me twice, 'I'm not gonna live my life without you.' And he shot himself," Kelley told Roberts.

"So he committed suicide?" Roberts asked.

"I can't say that 100 percent because I didn't really think that he intentionally did that. I think it was an accident ... the gun was cocked because I didn't know who it was, because I felt like it was an intruder," Kelley replied.

Kelley's story see-saws between Peatross' death being a suicide and an accident, but forensically, Garavaglia says, suicide doesn't make sense.

"Suicides are almost completely contact wounds," she explained.

"Where a gun is actually pressed against the flesh?" Roberts asked.

"Right, yes. ... Almost universally suicides are contact wounds," Garavaglia replied. "But then the other problem with suicide is suicides are very consistent on their location.

"... and it's in an odd spot ... people kill themselves here, under the chin, in the mouth, in the forehead," the medical examiner continued, demonstrating with a foam head. "But not in the cheek."

Dr. Garavaglia needs to know the distance the gun barrel was from Peatross' face. Put simply, the closer to the cheek would indicate a suicide; the further away would be considered homicide. She looks closely at the wound on Peatross' cheek.

"...it is surrounded by powder tattooing," Garavaglia explained. "It's the powder that comes out, the gunpowder that's unburnt. It's being propelled out the end of the barrel and has enough velocity to hit the skin and make marks ... we use that on how far away the end of the barrel is to the skin."

She pegs the distance of the gun barrel at 3 to 6 inches away from Peatross' face.

"Three inches is somewhere around here and six inches would be somewhere around here, somewhere in that distance was the end of the barrel," Garavaglia said, referencing the distance on a foam head.

Forensics aim to prove how Phillip Peatross was shot

To prove her theory that this was not a suicide, Dr. Garavaglia enlisted forensic scientist Matt Conway of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement."48 Hours" asked them to demonstrate a similar test.

"Now what will this test demonstrate?" Roberts asked Conway of the demonstration for "48 Hours".

"When a cartridge is fired, you have the projectile that is exiting the muzzle of the firearm. Along with that, you have various gunshot residues," he explained. "... they can actually strike the skin of the victim and cause an abrasion and this is what's known as gun powder tattooing."

"We're gonna fire -- another test six inches from the muzzle to the surface," said Conway before firing.

In the demonstration, Conway fires a .38 caliber revolver similar to Kelley's in a series of tests meant to show the distance from the gun barrel to Peatross' cheek. He fires into targets made of twill cotton that represent a close approximation of a person's skin

Several shots are fired at distances from one to eighteen inches. Dr. Garavaglia and Conway then compare the marks on the twill to the marks on Peatross' cheek. In the actual test done to support the autopsy, Garavaglia found that the results matched her original estimate.

"... the distance of the end of the barrel from the skin was somewhere between three and six inches. That's inconsistent with a suicide," she explained.

But while preparing for trial, defense attorney Diana Tennis discovers that at one point, Peatross did have suicidal thoughts.

"... he was involuntarily committed as being a potential danger to himself -- because of his level of -- being distraught over the loss of his family and -- being separated from his wife," said Tennis.

In 2006, Peatross' estranged wife, Sandra, said he showed up at her house with suspicious cuts on his arms. Then a few weeks later, she says a drunken Phillip called with suicidal threats. Sandra was concerned and phoned police. Peatross was what the state of Florida calls "Baker Acted" and against his will was sent to a hospital for psychiatric testing.

"It certainly showed that he had -- the ability to be very - distraught -- drink a lot and-- have a lot of drama around his perceptions that he was losing the woman he loved," she said.

Despite evidence of possible suicidal thoughts, Dr. Garavaglia says that incident, five years in the past, has no bearing on this case.

"He has not been Baker Acted since ... He's not seeing anybody for depression. He's enjoying life," she said. "His friends said he's in a good place in life. He was excited about his daughter's -- upcoming wedding."

Dr. Garavaglia firmly believes Peatross' death was a homicide and says she has a strong forensic case to prove it. But Diana Tennis says it may come down to whether the jury believes Caryn Kelley's story.

"I feel the jury's gonna wanna hear from her ... this is such a hard decision and we worked on Caryn's testimony for a long time because she's so emotional and because it's so difficult for her to go back and relive this and I'm nervous," Tennis said. "... but I think she will probably have to testify."


Caryn Kelley insists she did not kill her boyfriend.

"The people that know me, the people that support me are the ones that know that I would never be capable of doing anything to hurt anybody," Kelley told Roberts. "I would never wanna hurt Phillip ever at all. I had absolutely no reason to want him to be dead. And I miss him more than anything in the world."

Out on bail with her criminal trial approaching, Kelley learns that the state's attorney has lowered her first-degree murder charge to second degree and then all the way down to manslaugher.

"Under second-degree murder it would have to be shooting somebody because you're mad at them, essentially. Manslaughter involves what we call culpable negligence," defense lawyer Diana Tennis explained.

Tennis says the reduced charge is not necessarily a good thing, because the state doesn't have to prove intent.

"I think the State could argue 'We're not saying she shot him or didn't shoot him. We're just saying she should've, could've ... and did know it was him in the house. She'd had a gun out. They'd both been drinking. She set the wheels in motion. And no matter whose hand was on the gun, it's kind of her fault,'" she said.

And because Kelley no longer faces a life sentence, manslaughter brings with it one other significant change.

"It took us from 12 jurors to six, and that means only six people have to be convinced of your guilt versus 12," Tennis explained.

In May 2013, the trial begins and Prosecutor Candra Moore wastes no time in using Kelley's own words against her.

"Did he shoot himself? Yes or no? 'No. No. It was like self-defense, and then an accident.' Those are the words that Caryn Kelley told the 911 operator within moments of Phillip Peatross being shot in the face," Moore said in her opening statement.

Moore asks the jurors - three men and three women - to look closely at Kelley's behavior on that police-recorded cell phone video.

"You're gonna see her give this brief reenactment on the video while she's flailing around in this nightie, in her driveway, saying how, 'I told him not to come back because if he came back to my house and I didn't know who it was, I have a weapon and I will use it.' This is supposed to be the love of her life," Moore told the court, mimicking Kelley.

But that video, embraced by the prosecution, cuts both ways.

Caryn Kelley: You think that's funny?

Officer: No, nothing's funny ma'am.

Caryn Kelley: Think this is funny?

"As Caryn's defense lawyer, I loved the video from the front yard," Tennis told Roberts. "They treated her disrespectfully ...They treated her rudely ... She's trying to show them what happened, and they couldn't care less."

She tells jurors that Phillip Peatross should have been more careful when he saw Kelley with the gun.

"Now Mr. Peatross does not jump back around the corner and say, 'Hey Caryn, it's me,'" Tennis tells jurors. "Mr. Peatross crosses her bedroom ... he crossed the room and he decides to take that gun away from her and ... you'll see the big old bruise; you'll see the big old fingerprint mark on her arm.

The defense produces photographs of a bruise on Kelley's forearm that seem to back up the story she's been telling from the start.

Caryn Kelley: He, uh, threw my arm and I said "don't, don't do this."

In her opening statement, Tennis promises jurors that Kelley will indeed testify.

"At the end of this case, I am very, very confident that you are not gonna think that Ms. Kelley purposely hurt anyone, wanted anyone hurt," she told the court. "I don't believe you're gonna believe that, I think you're gonna find her not guilty."

Prosecutor Candra Moore, meanwhile, paints a picture of Kelley as someone who liked to party a lot -- including the night of the fatal shooting:

Alan Oppel: Two people is what I heard. It sounded like either an argument or a party. It was just loud conversation.

Prosecutor Moore: And what do you hear her say?

Alan Oppel: "Go, just go."

Neighbor Alan Oppel lives two houses away from Kelley:

Prosecutor Moore: And what did you do about the noise? Were you able to go to sleep, was your wife able to go to sleep?

Alan Oppel: My wife said, 'Here we go again' and she grabbed her ear plugs off the night stand, put her ear plugs in. I rolled over, put the pillow over my head and I went to sleep shortly there after.

Another state witness is Randy Mixon, a friend and co-worker of Peatross. He says Phillip agonized about telling Kelley he was still married.

"Every other day, I go, 'You gonna tell her today? You gonna tell her today?' It was like a joke, ongoing joke, you know what I mean?" Mixon testified.

A more serious concern for Peatross was the way Kelley behaved around his children. Peatross had told Mixon that Kelley drank to excess and didn't connect to his four daughters.

"He wanted somebody that cared about his kids and was gonna interact with them right ... When he was with Tamara, the kids got along with her great, everything was great there," Mixon testified.

Peatross' wife and ex-girlfriend listen intently as Mixon sheds light on why Phillip never got a divorce.

"... he wouldn't divorce his wife because he still loved Sandy," he told the court. "He told me that over and over ..."

Sandy, Peatross' wife, had warned Phillip to keep Kelley away from their children.

"He wasn't allowed to take the kids at all anymore at that point. I could be wrong but I don't believe the kids were allowed to be around her at that point at all," Mixon continued.

The situation was further complicated because one of Peatross' daughters had an upcoming wedding:

Prosecutor Moore: Did he also indicate to you whether Miss Kelley was invited to the wedding.

Randy Mixon: Yes ma'am, she was not invited to the wedding.

Prosecutor Moore: Did he say to you whether that was going to cause any type of problem or whether he had a plan for that problem?

Randy Mixon: He knew it was going to be a problem but he didn't say he had a plan ... He said he had to do something about it. He said he had to do something about the problem...

The state argues that Peatross intended to leave Kelley, but Tennis insists there is no evidence to substantiate that:

Diana Tennis: Mr. Peatross never said to you, 'I'm going to break up with Caryn,' correct?

Randy Mixon: He never came out and said those words, no ma'am.

The trial moves into the forensics portion of the state's case.

Kelley's gun yielded no fingerprints to prove whose finger was on the trigger, so the jury must rely on expert opinion.

"I could tell that there is a single gunshot wound to the face. It's somewhere between, in my opinion, 3 to 6 inches. It is either consistent with a struggle or consistent with being shot outright," Dr. Garavaglia, the chief medical examiner for Orange and Osceola counties, testified.

But the defense counters with its own forensic expert, Dr. William Anderson. He says the gun was much closer to Peatross' cheek than the medical examiner suggests.

"The critical thing is the fact that there is a large amount of soot present. That's not gonna come from a gun being back any significant distance," Dr. Anderson testified.

Anderson says the gun was between 1 and 3 inches from Peatross' cheek, raising the possibility that this was indeed a suicide.

"...it wasn't in contact with the skin but it was close ... and that would be consistent with two individuals struggling or one individual attempting to inflict the wound themselves," he told Roberts.

Following Dr. Anderson's testimony came a surprise. In a stunning decision, the defense rests without calling Kelley to the stand:

Judge: Miss Kelley, did you have the opportunity to discuss with your attorney whether or not you wanted to testify in this matter.

Caryn Kelley: I did.

Judge: What was your decision?

Caryn Kelley: I've decided not to testify because I'm too emotional about the situation.

"Everyone was expecting you to testify. Why didn't you?" Roberts asked Kelley. "Did you see me, how emotional I was? I-- I wouldn't be able to, I think, be able to -- sit up there and be able to get two words out. I was just that -- that upset," she replied. In her closing statement, Diana Tennis apologizes to the jury for not keeping her promise.

"I gave you the impression in my opening statements that she would testify and she did not. If you hold it against her that I told you something would happen that didn't, that would not be justice," Tennis told them. "If you are unhappy with me in any way, it would also not be justice for you to hold that against her."

"One of the worst things that a lawyer can do ... is promising the jury things in opening statement and then not delivering and so I couldn't believe that I found myself in that same position," Tennis told Roberts. "... it was pretty nerve wracking."

Prosecutor Moore, meanwhile, reminds the jury of Kelley's actions that she says led to Peatross' death.

"She's the one who put the gun in the picture, she's the one that was intoxicated and held out the gun. She removed it from the holster, she pointed the gun, she didn't put the gun away and she is the one that had either her hands on the trigger or set the ball in motion of all the acts to occur that caused him to be shot and killed," Moore addressed the court.

Tennis and Kelley had to wait it out, knowing that even with the reduced manslaughter charge, Caryn still faced up to 18 years in prison.


"Going into deliberations, are you confident?" Troy Roberts asked defense attorney Diana Tennis. "You know what, you have to be confident," she replied. "...on the other hand, as confident as I am that we did what we needed to do to show what really happened, I'm scared too ... it's scary business those hours that you wait."

Caryn Kelley says no one should have any doubt about what happened in her bedroom that night.

"I just think that any person with common sense would be able to put those facts together and know that I did not shoot my boyfriend," she said.

With the jury out, Tennis hopes her arguments were convincing enough to keep Kelley out of prison.

"If you lose, if you didn't do enough, if you weren't good enough, you go back in the courtroom and she gets handcuffed and taken away," she said.

For Tamara Lawton, Kelley's mistake was taking out a loaded gun on a night when she admits she had been drinking.

"If there was some way that people that are drinking or, you know, under any influence could stay away from guns, I know it would be a good idea," she said, sobbing.

"This is still fresh for you," Roberts commented.

"It's just sad. It's just sad, as it would be for anyone. He was a truly wonderful person that, you know, went through something really horrible," Lawton replied.

Less than two hours into deliberations, as all of the women in Peatross' life are assembled in the courthouse, word comes down that the jury has reached a verdict: Not guilty.

Kelley holds her emotions in check as the judge has instructed. Peatross' family reacts stoically to the jury's decision.

"Tell me about the wave of relief when you heard, 'Not guilty,'" said Roberts.

"I was very relieved just to be able to go on to those next phase of my life," Kelley replied. "Just being acquitted and proven innocent of something you didn't do is - is -- huge. But it doesn't bring Phillip back. He's still not with me. So it's very depressing. "

Outside the courtroom, Kelley catches up with her family and the reporters catch up with her.

Reporter: What are you gonna do next?

Caryn Kelley: Go to Disney World...

"So, you're a free woman. You leave the courthouse, surrounded by a gaggle of reporters ... and you made a flip comment when someone asked you what you were going to do next," Roberts pointed out to Kelley.

"Yeah ... it's just so ridiculous. I thought, '...a stupid question deserves a stupid answer,'" she replied. "I certainly meant no disrespect to Phillip or to his family in any way, shape or form."

In the end, a juror -- who asked not to be named -- says the prosecution case simply lacked evidence.

"I think we still had many questions but we definitely didn't have any proof that, beyond a reasonable doubt, that she committed this crime or that it wasn't anything other than an accident," the juror told Roberts.

As Diana Tennis had predicted, that cell phone video worked in Kelley's favor.

"She's just trying to get answers and you have someone from law enforcement laughing at her, who she perceives is laughing at her, but he's reading a joke on his telephone and that really stuck with me," the juror said.

"Didn't sit well with you?" Roberts asked.

"Didn't sit well with me at all," the juror replied.

The jury's decision is upsetting to Tamara Lawton.

"This was a miscarriage of justice in my opinion. I'm not saying that she had any reason to hurt him ... I don't know what happened. My best guess is that it was probably an accident. ... I think she was temporarily out of her mind," Lawton said. "I don't think that anyone that knew Phillip would ever intentionally hurt him."

"What do you miss the most?" Roberts asked Lawton. "His -- his hugs," she said in tears. " When he would hug you, he would go, 'Mmm.' He just always loved that contact. He loved it. And his daughter said that at his funeral and I had forgotten that. He was just - just -- a slice of cake. Just a sweetheart."

With Kelley's trial behind her, Diana Tennis is focusing on the future, running for and winning a judgeship. And Kelley, now a free woman, believes it maybe time to leave Orlando's small-town atmosphere and move on.

"Phillip has always been a special part of my life and every day that goes by I think of him and all the wonderful times we had together and that will never change ... he'll still always be in my memory," she said.

Caryn Kelley's gun was legal in Florida.

The state does not require gun owners to register firearms.

  • Troy Roberts

    Correspondent, "48 Hours"