Jurors deliberated about three hours Friday before acquitting a 32-year-old Macon man who was charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a Lizella man.
Nathan Taylor's trial began Tuesday in Bibb County Superior Court.
Testifying Friday, Taylor denied knowing or killing 59-year-old Walter Henley despite confessing to the Aug. 18, 2012, shooting.
Police initially sought one of Taylor's brothers as a suspect in the killing and encountered Taylor twice while searching for his brother. He admitted Friday that he'd lied to police on both occasions, saying he didn't know the man they were looking for.
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Arrested on an obstruction charge, Taylor said he knew he'd be held in jail for a while because he'd recently been paroled. Taylor was released from prison in February 2012 after serving about seven years for robbery.
He said he confessed to the slaying because it was his understanding that if he gave a statement exonerating his family, they would be freed.
Charges still are pending against Taylor's brother, 37-year-old Nicholas Taylor. Charges against another of his brothers -- the one police initially sought -- have been dismissed.
Torry Johnson, a friend of Henley's, testified Thursday that Nathan Taylor called him multiple times before Henley's death demanding money for a car that Johnson had bought from Henley that actually belonged to Taylor.
He said he'd sold the car for scrap and agreed to pay Taylor the $400 he'd planned to pay Henley.
On the day before Henley was shot, Johnson met Taylor at a gas station and gave him half the money, Johnson testified.
During a phone call, Taylor threatened to kill Henley if he wasn't paid, Johnson said.
Henley's 15-year-old daughter testified that a man came to the door of her family's house on Fulton Mill Road Aug. 18, 2012, and asked for her father.
A little later, she heard gunshots and found her father fatally injured.
A GBI medical examiner testified that Henley suffered 11 gunshot wounds. Eight shell casings recovered were fired from one gun, a GBI firearms expert testified.
Taylor's aunt and her boyfriend testified Friday that Taylor was with them at the time of the killing, although they admitted they didn't tell police that Taylor had an alibi until about a week ago.
Both of them admitted having pleaded guilty to felonies in the 1980s.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398 or find her on Twitter@awomackmacon.