SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - A Hampden County Superior Court Jury has found Charles Wilhite not guilty in his second trial for the 2008 death of Alberto Rodriguez.
The verdict was read Thursday in court in Springfield, where supporters of Wilhite gathered. He hugged family members after hearing the verdict, but made no public statement.
Wilhite was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to life in prison, but he has maintained his innocence and was granted a new trial last year; after a key prosecution witness recanted his original identification of Wilhite as the shooter of Alberto Rodriguez.
Rodriguez was shot near the Pine Street Market in 2008, after what prosecutors called a long-running feud with the market's owner, Angel Hernandez.
Hernandez was also convicted of first degree murder, but he has not been granted a new trial.
Since the 2010 conviction, a group called " Justice for Charles" had been advocating on his behalf; holding protests and demanding the complete dropping of charges against him.
Wilhite's mother, Shiela Drungo, told 22News that she is so happy that her son is finally free. She said that tonight their whole family will be going to Wilhite's grandmother's house to spend time together.