FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A jury hearing a triple murder trial -- known in Broward County as the Nickelodeon case -- issued a not guilty verdict.
Seth Penalver, now 39, was acquitted of three first-degree murder charges on Friday. The trial, the third one in the case, began in July.
"This system, thank God, corrects itself when it makes a mistake," said defense attorney Hilliard Moldoff. "Half his life in jail for something we all believe he didn't do."
Video shot by a defense consultant showed Penalver crying and slumping to the ground to pray.
Penalver was accused of killing Casimir "Butch Casey" Sucharski, Sharon Anderson, and Marie Rogers in 1994. Video showed two men enter a home in Miramar then bind, beat, and shoot the three victims execution style.
One of the people in the video, Pablo Ibar, is on death row. Prosecutors said the other was Penalver.
The Broward State Attorney's Office issued a statement, saying: "While we are shocked and extremely disappointed in the verdict, we certainly respect the tremendous time and effort each jury member gave in fulfilling their civic duty. We are still confident that the defendant was one of the two men captured on the video. That is no solace, of course, to the family and friends of the murder victims, Casimir Sucharski, Marie Rogers and Sharon Anderson. We all will continue to grieve for those three victims."
Penalver's case had been tried twice before. The first ended in a hung jury and the second ended with a conviction and a death sentence, but the Supreme Court overturned Penalver's sentence in 2006.
The case received its name because Sucharski owned the Nickelodeon Bar in Pembroke Park.
Penalver will be released sometime Friday.
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