A judge has found a former Bastrop County Sheriff’s deputy not guilty in the murder of Yvette Smith in 2014.Judge Albert McCaig made his ruling Thursday afternoon, hours after closing arguments concluded in the murder retrial of Daniel Willis.
Several members of law enforcement were on hand in the packed courtroom. Family and friends of Yvette Smith openly cried, some even ran out of the courtroom after the verdict was read.
Smith’s mother said,” He murdered my daughter.”
Another family member yelled, “I told you what was going to happen.”
Willis’ defense attorneys said it came down to the facts and the law.
“Daniel Willis is not guilty of a crime he should never have been brought to a court room,” said Kristen Jernigan.
“Daniel Willis is so relieved that this nightmare of a 2 year malicious prosecution is over with,” said Robert McCabe.
Each side felt the case was simple. Prosecutor Forrest Sanderson said Willis intentionally and knowingly shot Yvette Smith and added he’s shown little remorse.
“In all professions your honor there are bad apples and in all professions things happen which need correction,” said Sanderson.
Defense lawyers argued that Willis’ actions were reasonable saying he felt he was in danger.
“Why are we here, the states own witnesses testify Daniel Willis was in fear of his life when she shot Smith,” said Jernigan.
McCabe said he doesn’t know what he’ll do next, but say he’s happy to spend time with his family.
Something Yvette Smith’s family, won’t be able to do.
Willis was responding to a disturbance in February 2014 when he opened fire on Smith as she opened the door of a home. He waived his right to a jury after a September 2015 jury trial ended with the jury deadlocked and a mistrial declared.
*Article originally published on KVUE.