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Not Guilty Verdict Shocks And Angers CJ Schoen's Family

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Rochester: Not Guilty Verdict Shocks And Angers CJ Schoen's Family
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A not guilty verdict in the Maxwell Wyant case shocked the family of CJ Schoen. His mother called the decision by jurors a travesty. Wyant was found not guilty of second degree murder and manslaughter.

It was a heartbreaking verdict for the family of 21-year-old CJ Schoen.

Many of the them left the courtroom sobbing after a jury found Schoen's former roommate Maxwell Wyant not guilty of murder.

"I'm in shock. It was shocking that a young man at 21 can be shot in the back, his life taken away," said Valerie Cottrell, Schoen's mother. "He did the right thing, he was calling 911. This kid is a psychopath."

Wyant was charged with shooting Schoen at a Brighton home February 8th. According to Wyant's defense, the shooting was in self-defense, and after nearly two days of deliberating the jury agreed.

"I was anticipating that this was a likely outcome from the beginning. If I though he was guilty, we wouldn't have gone to trial," said James Nobles, defense attorney.

Court testimony revealed Schoen had bath salts and other drugs in his system when he went to the home he once lived to retrieve his belongings.

"This is horrific. My son was 21. They focused, all of the focus was on the fact that he had done drugs that day. They didn't look at the facts," said Cottrell.

Cottrell believes the truth never came out in court. She and prosecutor Michael Harrigan felt strongly Wyant was guilty on all counts.

"Anytime you give a case to the jury you don't know what's going to come. You like to think you have a strong case but ultimately it's their decision and we have to live with their decision," Harrigan said.

"We feel he was guilty."

Wyant left the Monroe County Jail on Friday night with his attorney and members of his family a free man, after a trial his lawyer describes as a long journey for all involved.

"I'm very pleased, I'm pleased for my client and his family," Nobles said.

It's a day that ended with relief for one family and heartache for another.

"My son is at peace, he can never hurt him again, that's my baby. He'll never hurt him again," Cottrell.

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