An all-white Moore County jury found black rookie policeman John Chambers innocent of murder in the death of a white restaurant owner here September 6.
After the jury's verdict was read, Chambers was given a five-minute head start to get out of the courtroom while spectators at the trial were detained by Judge James II Pou Bailey.
The jury deliberated for nearly six and a half hours before finding Chambers innocent of second degree murder in the death of Gerald Rosser, 29.
Judge Bailey sealed the courtroom before the jurors returned the verdict and, as soon as their decision was announced, he allowed Chambers and his attorneys to leave to some undisclosed place in a state police car.
The judge kept everyone else in the courtroom seated for five minutes after Chambers had left.
As the jurors filed in at 9:45 p.m., Chambers sat between his two attorneys James Lanning and Charles Becton of Charlotte, with his head howed. He showed no emotion as the jury gave its verdict. . . .
Earlier in Friday's session, the defense pleaded for Chambers acquittal, saying that the officer had only been doing his duty when he shot and killed Gerald Rosser, 29, a restaurant owner here.
Chambers said he shot Rosser, after Rosser had grabbed a billy stick and had slapped him and spit in his face.
The 22-year-old rookie officer said he had not meant to kill the victim when the gun discharged.
Early in the development of the case last fall, when Chambers was being escorted from the sheriff’s office to the courtroom upstairs, Chambers was attacked by two members of the Rosser family.