Univ. of Montana Cornerback Jimmy Wilson Will Return Following Murder Acquittal

Jimmy Wilson (University of Montana Athletics)
University of Montana
Jimmy Wilson (University of Montana Athletics)

MISSOULA, Mont. (CBS/AP) Former University of Montana football player Jimmy Wilson has been granted another year of athletic eligibility by the NCAA and will return to the field for the team's fall season.

Officials allowed the 23-year-old cornerback to come back after his murder acquittal in the 2007 shooting death of his aunt's boyfriend.

Wilson, who was jailed in California for two years until his July acquittal, wanted to re-enroll in school and had asked the University of Montana to petition the NCAA in order to restore his senior season.

Luckily for Wilson, both the university and the NCAA believe in second chances.

The university's athletic director Jim O'Day supported the NCAA's decision to reinstate the gifted student-athlete and added that the department and the team "will welcome Jimmy back into the Griz family with open arms.

Wilson had endured much success during his first three seasons as a Grizzly, but the June 2, 2007 shooting of his aunt's boyfriend changed everything.

The Missoulian reports that Wilson admitted he intervened in the domestic dispute between his aunt and her boyfriend, and stated from the beginning that the shooting was out of self-defense.

Unfortunately for Wilson, his first trial ended in a hung jury, and it wasn't until July 2009 that his case was retried and he was acquitted of all charges.

Wilson's defense attorney Jerome Bradford remained optimistic about Wilson's future despite the long road to justice and told The Missoulian, "I just hope he goes and does well in his life. I think he's a good kid. I really do."