Update: Man Who Pulled Trigger Not Guilty of Murder


He admits to pulling the trigger, but Arkanjelo Kot is a free man as a Grand Island murder trial ends with a stunning not guilty verdict.

That's what a jury armed with five days of testimony and arguments concluded. They could have gone with a lesser charge, but decided Kot did nothing criminal.

Shackled, but smiling, the 35-year-old left court with his name cleared of murder.

"Thank you everybody," he said to our camera.

Defense Attorney Denise Frost said, "This is a great weight off his shoulders."

Members of the Sudanese community embraced outside the courtroom, saying the system worked for a fellow refugee.

Peter Lokodu, a Sudanese community leader said of Kot, "He's a good guy in the community. I've known him since 2007 so I'm really, really impressed to see democracy happen here in the U.S."

Hall County Attorney Mark Young let out a sigh of disappointment. He said he's most disappointed for the family of Walid Omar Aden.

Young said, "It's going to be a tough phone call to Ohio to tell Mr. Aden's family what happened. I feel like I let them down and community down. I'm sorry. Gave it everything we had."

Young said technical, legal issues may have hampered his case in regards to what evidence the prosecution could present about the victim.

"It was what it was and jury made their decision," Young said.

Kot testified about growing up in Sudan during a brutal civil war and also talked about the attempt on his life he survived. Kot later testified in that case, helping to convict two men of murder charges.

Young, the prosecutor, said that may have swayed the jury.

"I do think when you're bombarded with that kind of information it's bound to have an impact on how you perceive other information you get. I think this was good faith verdict by jurors but I'm sure that had an impact," he said.

Defense attorneys think Kot's testimony was the turning point.

"He was able to tell the jury in his own words what happened that night and of course he was the only one who could tell his story," Denise Frost said.

Kot could still get jail time, for an unrelated fight behind bars. He will stand trial in January for that. But in this case, the jury says he's not guilty.

Frost said, "It was what we prayed for, it was what we hoped for and I think it was the right verdict too."

Nebraska does not have a stand–your–ground law, so some are watching to see if this sets a precedent or not.

Arkanjelo Kot's attorneys tried to make the case he was so afraid that he was going to be killed that he had no choice but to carry a gun, and say the shot he fired was an accident.

The jury got the case at 2:25 p.m. on Monday, and had a verdict about 24 hours later. Kot was officially cleared on two counts -- first degree murder and use of a deadly weapon.