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Not guilty verdict in Detroit nightclub stabbing

Under Michigan's criminal code, a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. That is true even when someone is charged with a violent crime like homicide. Though emotions understandably run high in a murder case, the jury is expected to weigh the evidence and decide whether the prosecution proved the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The evidence did not reach that level in the recent murder trial of a Detroit man in connection with the stabbing death of a bouncer at a popular nightclub. Following trial, jurors took about a day before returning a not guilty verdict on June 7.

According to WWJ-TV, the defendant, 21, went to Club Pandemonium in September. After some sort of fight broke out, employees of the club began escorting the defendant from the club. At some point, one of the bouncers, a 41-year-old man, was stabbed several times in his head and neck. The bouncer later died at the hospital.

Although witnesses claimed they saw the defendant strike the victim with his fists, nobody saw him holding a knife at any point. Nevertheless, prosecutors charged him in the bouncer's death.

However, the jury declined to convict the 21-year-old. They decided, as they had to, based on the evidence presented about the death. The victim was a father of three, was expecting his first grandchild and was engaged to be married. While tragic, these facts were not related to the case and under our system could not prove or disprove whether the defendant was involved in the man's death.

Source: WWR-TV, "Man Found Not Guilty In Club Bouncer's Slaying," June 7, 2013

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