A jury came back Tuesday after two hours of deliberation and two days of evidence to declare Jacob Chance Scarborough not guilty of felony murder and two other charges.
“Tomorrow will be the first day of the rest of his life, and he’ll have to move forward from there,” Scarborough’s attorney Christopher Chapman said after the verdict.
Accused of felony murder, Scarborough was acquitted Tuesday of all charges in the death of 19-year-old Austin Brantley on May 9, 2013.
“I think the jury reached an appropriate verdict based on the law and based on the evidence presented here at trial,” Chapman said.
Brantley, of Flowery Branch, died of “complications of methylone,” according to Hall County Coroner Marion Merck. Scarborough faced charges of felony murder, distribution of methylone and involuntary manslaughter.
Chapman claimed Brantley’s friends turned in Scarborough as a way of “trying to desperately get out of trouble.” He argued there was no connection between any drugs in Brantley’s system and the conduct of his client.
“This case rests entirely on the credibility of Juno Peterka and his two friends, his two friends that lie to the police and point the finger at Jacob Scarborough,” Chapman said during closing arguments.
The jury heard Superior Court Judge Bonnie Oliver’s instructions around 3 p.m. Tuesday and returned with the verdict at 5:30 p.m.
Brantley’s friends testified Monday that the 19-year-old wanted to try LSD and borrowed $40 to make a deal.
Assistant District Attorney Bill Akins brought a handful of witnesses, including police and first responders at the scene.
Dr. Geoffrey Smith from the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office said the first lab test only found marijuana and caffeine in Brantley’s system. He said the amount of methylone present was under the testing threshold for the lab, adding that there is no established toxic level.