Philadelphia man not guilty in Minnesota student's killing


A jury has acquitted Marcellus Jones for the killing of a would-be teacher from Minnesota in order to steal his iPod.

The highly publicized case ended Wednesday when the 37-year-old Jones was found not guilty in the 2008 shooting, during which 23-year-old Beau Zabel was attacked from behind while walking home from his job at a Philadelphia Starbucks, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Zabel, who was studying to become a teacher, died just weeks before he was to start work at a public school, FOX 9 notes.

The Inquirer says Jones exclaimed "thank you!" when the verdict was announced, but he will not be walking free – he's already serving a life sentence for the murder of his purported getaway driver, Tyrek Taylor.

Prosecutors say he feared Taylor would talk to the police about the crime and killed him, the Inquirer adds.

Philadelphia Magazine described the verdict as "stunning," noting Jones's raucous outbursts in the courtroom during the trial, including criticizing his own defense attorney, and interrupting Zabel's mother while she was on the stand.

But there was no physical evidence implicating Jones in the murder, the publication says, leaving the prosecution to rely on testimony from witnesses who said he'd admitted to the crimes.

However, Jones maintained he was not involved in the killings and insisted those witnesses were lying, WPVI-TV adds.

Zabel was from Austin, Minnesota, and was entering Drexel University as a post-graduate teaching fellow, according to the Austin Daily Herald.

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