PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The jury has found the three men accused of stabbing and assaulting Pittsburgh Steelers lineman Mike Adams last year on Pittsburgh's South Side not guilty of the most serious charges against them.
The jury began deliberations Wednesday morning.
Dquay Means, Jerrell Whitlock and Michael Paranay were charged in the attack.
KDKA's Ralph Iannotti Reports:
"I'm just glad. He didn't have a reason... we had too much to lose and he's an innocent bystander," Denise Means, Dquay's sister, said in reaction to the verdict.
The three men were found not guilty on most of the charges.
Paranay was not convicted on any counts, but Means was found guilty of escape and Whitlock was convicted on a charge of flight to avoid apprehension.
Prosecutors say Adams was stabbed during an attempted carjacking late one night last June outside of a Cambodian restaurant. But the defense says Adams knocked food out of Paranay's hands.
"It's been a long 11 months and I think it came out the right way... the lying that went on in the courtroom from Mr. Adams," said William Paranay, Michael's father.
"I'm ecstatic," added Debbie Paranay, Michael's stepmother. "Justice was served and my boy is coming home."
KDKA's Ralph Iannotti Reports:
Paranay's lawyer, Randall McKinney, says his client's story never changed. He said the jury believed Paranay over the argument put forward by the Commonwealth that the incident was all about a carjacking.
"I think Mr. Paranay's version of events were accurate and truthful," said McKinney. "He never wavered and I think jury saw that his story was much more believable than the story told by the Commonwealth."
"I'm glad this is over. I'm glad he's coming home to be with his family," Judy Fitzhenry, Paranay's mother, said. "He's got two little kids who have been crying for their daddy for the past 11 months."
Defense attorneys also claimed Adams was drunk at the time of the incident.
"Mr. Adams, I wish him the best. I think everyone can get on with their lives now, and hopefully he does well for the Steelers and hopefully our guys do well for society," said William Difenderfer, Whitlock's attorney.
Shortly before the verdict was announced, Means' mother was arrested. Sheriff's deputies came to the courthouse and took her into custody on an outstanding warrant for writing bad checks.
Also, one of the jurors was removed and replaced with an alternate. The juror revealed she knows the girlfriend of a defense witness.
KDKA's Harold Hayes Reports:
On Tuesday, the defense rested its case without calling any of the three defendants.
Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert was also in court on Tuesday. He was released from his subpoena after defense attorneys introduced excerpts from Adams' contract.
Among its provisions: that if a player has engaged in personal conduct reasonably judged by the Club to adversely affect or reflect on the Club, then Club may terminate the contract.
Prosecutors were not available for comment after the verdict was handed down.
There's no word yet on when the three men will be released.
for more features.