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With the curtain closed on a Philadelphia jury’s acquittal of a defendant charged with murdering a police officer whose death in 2007 prosecutors tried to link to the bullets the defendant shot into the police officer’s body more than 40 years earlier, many attorneys are questioning why the Philadelphia district attorney’s office proceeded to trial despite the 40-year time gap between the shooting and the officer’s death and despite the defendant’s prior conviction on attempted murder.

After a week-long trial, a jury found defendant William Barnes not guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and third-degree murder Monday after deliberating for about six hours. Prosecutors said that Philadelphia Police Officer Walter Barclay’s death from urinary tract and bedsore infections that went septic was caused by the bullets defendant Barnes fired in 1966. The defense argued there were several intervening events including three car accidents and two falls out of wheelchairs that disrupted the chain of causation connecting Barclay’s trauma in 1966 to his death 41 years later.

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