A jury of four men and eight women found Brian Lee Randone not guilty of murder and torture charges Friday in connection with the death of former adult film actress Felicia Lee.
Randone, a former preacher, hugged his attorney and later his father after the court clerk read the verdicts.
"Hallelujah, praise God," Randone said before being led out of the court for the last time by the bailiff. "God's in control."
In a trial that lasted nearly a month, Deputy District Attorney Philip Wojdak in his apartment in the 500 block of Duarte Road on Sept. 11, 2009. She was found with more than 300 blunt force trauma wounds throughout her body, which were the basis of the torture count.
But Randone's attorneys insisted that Lee , the date rape drug, and sustained the injuries during a seizure-like episode while she was intoxicated on the drug. Lee, a former adult film actress, was known to use the drug recreationally and had a high amount of it in her system when she died.
Mark Overland, one of Randone's two attorneys, said after the verdict that jurors, who began deliberations at about 9 a.m. Thursday and returned a verdict just after 2 p.m. Friday, told him that they made a decision quickly on the murder count.
"It's clear, when I talked to them, they said they reached the decision on the murder charge on Thursday," Overland said.
As to the torture count, Overland said they jury told him they "couldn't find any torture or any reason for him to have done it."
One juror, who declined to identify herself by name, said that a major factor in the jury's decision was the small amount of electrical activity found in Lee's heart when paramedics arrived. They agreed with the would not have been present in Lee if she were smothered to death.
Another juror could be overheard telling Wojdak that she had doubts about the verdict.
"I'm not happy with the verdict but there wasn't enough there to say he was guilty," she said.
Wojdak told City News Service that he was "very disappointed" by the verdict.
Randone's father, Angelo Randone, testified in the trial that his son intended to marry Lee. He said outside the courtroom after the verdict that he was "extremely happy" with the jury's decision.
"I'll tell you what, to be honest with you, the tragedy should have never happened," Angelo Randone said. "My son has always been there to help Felicia, not to hurt her."
Randone's mother had a stroke during the course of the trial and he told his father to call her "so she's not worried" as he was being led out of the courtroom.
Overland said his client intends to enjoy his freedom and possibly return to operating his own business in the telecommunications industry.
"He's just relieved the nightmare is over," Overland said.