BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A jury has acquitted Shane Casado of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of his girlfriend Rachael Wierzbicki.
Casado shot Wierzbicki outside of his home on Edson Street in November 2018.
Casado claimed he shot Wierzbicki in self-defense, saying Wierzbicki was allegedly making threats against him and his property.
Jurors spent several hours listening back in the courtroom to listen to the testimony of two witnesses who were at the scene of the shooting and reviewed the lengthy police interrogation video of Casado the night he was arrested and charged after she died.
Families of both Casado and Wierzbicki were visibly and audibly emotional following the verdict with one of Casado's relatives saying, "he's coming home!"
Shortly after the verdict was announced, the family of Rachael Wierzbicki was seen leaving in tears, visibly upset, about how two-days of deliberations ended.
However, Shane Casado's family walked out of the courtroom, passing by our cameras cheering "not guilty".
"Not guilty... I'm the mom of Shane Casado. Not guilty. We knew that the whole time," Nanette Casado, Shane's mother told 7ABC's cameras. "I want to send my condolences to the Wierzbicki's family, but this was not an open and shut case. Again, not guilty and I just want to thank everybody for their love and support at this time."
Casado was acquitted on charges of both second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter.
The 27-year-old reportedly shot 22-year-old Rachael Wierzbicki of Orchard Park, outside his Edson Street home, in November 2018.
The judge instructed they have an option of first-degree manslaughter if they believe Casado intended to seriously injure Wierzbicki, without intent to kill her.
Casado claimed it was a case of domestic violence against him, suffering emotional abuse from her, shot her in self-defense.
The verdict comes as a shock to Erie County district attorney John Flynn, who told 7 Eyewitness News' Pheben Kassahun by phone, that he believed the verdict was ridiculous.
"They didn't even give him the manslaughter," Flynn said. "I don't know this I haven't talked to the jurors obviously, but at the end of the day, they felt that he may have been justified doing this, as part of that 'ok', that she was threatening him, and he really just didn't mean to do this. Obviously, I think that's ridiculous quite frankly. I disagree with it."
Flynn said he foresaw this happening, which is why he had offered the manslaughter plea ahead of time.
He said he believes Casado shooting his girlfriend was not justified, considering how much smaller she is compared to him.
"I think his story is ridiculous. I start with that right there. His story that he was justified in shooting her. This girl who was was considerably shorter, smaller than him is going to somehow threaten him is ridiculous," Flynn said. "I recognized that they were going to throw everything against the wall. They were going to throw justification against the wall. They were going to throw that, 'he didn't mean to kill her', and that it was only a .22 and that it wasn't a high caliber weapon, or that it was a hair trigger."
Flynn also told me his office will not appeal.
Casado, who has been behind bars since March 2019, is a free man Thursday night.