The re-trial in the Rockford murder of 8 year-old Demarcus Hanson comes to an end.  Ty Juan Anderson, Lumont Johnson and Anthony Ross were found not guilty of committing the 2002 murder. And while the prosecution says the evidence points to the 3 men, the defense insists the men were innocent from the start.

“There is not sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that each of these defendants are guilty of murder,” ruled Chief Judge Joseph McGraw.

Hanson was asleep at his great grandmother’s house when shots came through the window, one hitting him in the head. Prosecutors claim the defendants were involved in a gang warfare and intended to shoot Hanson’s uncle, Alex Dowthard.  They allege Dowthard had flashed gang symbols and the men retaliated.

“…the three defendants had an encounter with a relative of Demarcus, Alex Dowthard…You can have words and gestures that can escalate to gang retaliation. And that is what you have in this case,”
 says Marilyn Hite-Ross for the prosecution.

But the defense says that the state has no way of proving that the defendants were the ones at the home that evening.

“The state has not proven that these 3 men are guilty of anything and the state can’t come close to meeting their burden,” says defense attorney Elliot Slosar.

The 3 men had been in prison for nearly a decade and the defense proclaims that justice has finally been served.

“It’s the right ruling, it’s been a long fight for all three of these men.  I can’t imagine the horror of being locked up all those years for something that you obviously didn’t do.  I think the motivations of the witnesses against them were clear and the judge absolutely made the right call,” adds defense attorney Steven A. Greenberg.