EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSSuspect In Huntington Bar Shooting Found Not Guilty
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Dave Benton
Web Producer: Darrah Wilcox
Also Contributing: Darrah Wilcox
Reported: Jul. 8, 2013 3:11 PM EDT
Updated: Jul. 16, 2013 9:27 AM EDT
Huntington , Cabell County , West Virginia
The suspect in the Huntington bar shooting that left one man dead was found not guilty of first-degree murder on Monday.
A jury of eight women and four men in Huntington found that Aaron Searls acted in self-defense in the shooting death of Larry Keaton Jr.
Keaton was shot and killed as he was leaving a bar on Third Avenue on Jan. 9, 2012.
Keaton's family was emotional as the verdict was read. Keaton's family members told Eyewitness News they believed the recent verdict in the Zimmerman trial could have possibly swayed the jury's decision to find Searls not guilty.
Keaton's father, Larry Keaton said, "I actually think this Zimmerman case had all the influence in the world on this case here because they're very similar but very different situations. My son didn't have a gun, he had nothing."
Searls wife, Teia Searls said, "It's very heartbreaking for them, for us. It's been 18 long months."
Searls has a pending charge of wanton endangerment stemming from a previous unrelated crime. Searls will serve temporary home confinement.
Jury deliberations are set to begin on Monday for a murder trial in Huntington.
The murder trial for Aaron Searls wrapped up Friday afternoon with closing arguments.
Larry Keaton Jr. was shot and killed as he was leaving a bar on Third Avenue on Jan. 9, 2012. Searls claims he shot Keaton in self-defense.
The trial for a man accused of killing a man outside of a bar continued Thursday.
Police said Aarol Searls shot Larry Keaton in January 2012. The state presented testimony from officers, while the defense called a forensic expert to the stand. Searls claims the shooting was self-defense. The trial continues Friday morning.
Testimony began today in a murder trial in Cabell County.
Aaron Searls is charged with first degree murder in connection with the shooting death of Larry "John" Keaton, Jr. Keaton was shot and killed as he was leaving a bar on 3rd Avenue on January 9, 2012. Searls claims he shot Keaton in self-defense.
Tuesday, the Lounge bartender who was working that night, Amanda Staton, testified about Searls' behavior that night. She said he would be okay one minute, then "his emotions would shift into something completely different". She said she was concerned about his erratic behavior.
A bar patron who did not know either the defendant or the victim also testified. Steve Swann said he listened to Searls talk about problems he was having with his brother, who was living with him and his wife at the time rent-free. He and his brother were arguing throughout the night at the bar, and the bartender asked them several times to stop.
Staton nor Swann actually saw the shooting happen outside the bar.
The state will continue to call witnesses Wednesday morning.
A jury has been selected in a Huntington murder trial.
Jury selection took just a few hours Monday morning in Cabell County Circuit Judge Paul Farrell's courtroom. Aaron Searls is on trial for first degree murder in connection with the shooting death of another man early last year.
Larry Keaton, Jr. was shot and killed as he was leaving a bar on 3rd Avenue on January 9, 2012. Searls claims he shot Keaton in self-defense.
Attorneys for the prosecution and the defense wrapped up last-minute motions Monday afternoon. Opening arguments are scheduled for 9:00 a.m. Tuesday.
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