Not guilty. That was the verdict Tuesday night in the murder trial of 20-year-old Isaac Turnbaugh of Moretown. The jury's decision came almost exactly two-years after Turnbaugh was charged with the sniper-style murder of a co-worker at a restaurant in Waitsfield.
It took the jury a little more than five hours of deliberating to find Isaac Turnbaugh not guilty of gunning down Declan Lyons. Police had pinned the case on Turnbaugh's alleged confession to his friends. But the defense said it was a false confession because Turnbaugh was mentally ill and under the influence of psychedelic drugs at the time.
For Turnbaugh, his family, friends and lawyers the verdict triggered tears of joy and relief, ending what they called a two-year nightmare. Turnbaugh left the courtroom in tears hugging his father. When asked for comment, Turnbaugh said his minister told him the truth would set him free.
The family and friends of murder victim Declan Lyons wept and left the courtroom without comment moments after the verdict was announced. The prosecutors also declined comment. For Vermont Assistant Attorney General Cindy Maguire the not guilty verdict ends her undefeated record. It is the first time she has ever failed to get a conviction in a murder case.
Isaac Turnbaugh is now a free man and can never be charged again in connection with Declan Lyons murder. And even though Turnbaugh's lawyers used his mental illness as part of their defense, the not guilty verdict means Turnbaugh is not required to undergo any kind of treatment for his diagnosed mental illness that forced a six week delay of the trial.