There was a display of raw emotion Wednesday as the murder trial involving an upstate New York soccer coach came to an end.
Oral “Nick” Hillary, a former Clarkson University soccer coach, was acquitted in the death of 12-year-old Garrett Phillips, who was found strangled in 2011, cried as he hugged his lawyers after the verdict was read.
Tandy Cyrus Collins, the boy's mother, sobbed when the not guilty verdict came down. She had to be comforted by relatives.
A spectator who disagreed with the jury's findings yelled out in court: “Karma's gonna get you!"
Hillary faced 25 years to life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.
The murder took place in Potsdam, a scenic university town not far from the Canadian border.
The soccer coach and some of his supporters claim racial bias was a factor in the case. He is one of the few black men in a region that is 94 percent white.
Hillary was dating Collins, a mom of two boys. She ended her relationship with Hillary because her kids didn't like him, prosecutor William Fitzpatrick said.
Police accused Hillary of waiting for young Garrett Phillips to head home after staying late at school.
Surveillance video shows the boy zipping by on his beloved skateboard. It was the last time he was seen alive. He was found strangled in his mom's apartment.
Hillary’s lawyer, Norman Siegel, told reporters: “No hairs. No blood. No fiber. No fingerprints. No tissue linked Hillary to the crime scene.
After the month-long trial, Hillary and his family rejoiced. Outside court he thanked his supporters and declined to talk about his future now that he is a free man.