Photo courtesy of NCPR
In the most recent development in the Oral Nicholas Hillary case, Judge Felix Catena deemed the defendant “not guilty” of the 2011 murder of twelve-year-old Garrett Phillips. NCPR reports that, after the ruling, the Canton courtroom echoed with a few claps and cheers, as Hillary cried and embraced his successful defense team. Nearby, the Phillips family sobbed in continued grief for the lack of closure in regards to the murder of young Garrett.
Catena reasoned that the evidence provided in court by the persecution was too circumstantial to prove Hillary guilty of murder beyond a reasonable doubt. He stated that though “a person’s guilt… may be proven by circumstantial evidence if that evidence, while not directly establishing guilt, gives rise to an inference of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, it must appear that the inference of guilt is the only one that can fairly and reasonably be drawn from the facts, and that the evidence excludes beyond a reasonable doubt every reasonable hypothesis of innocence.”
In this case, however, there was not enough substantial evidence to confidently and fairly charge the defendant with second-degree murder of Garrett Phillips.
Upon leaving the courthouse, the Phillips family was greeted by a horde of representatives from various national media outlets. According to NCPR, there was a prominent police presence both inside and outside the courthouse.
This story continues to develop and can be followed closely on NCPR’s Twitter: