Fresno man who shot family member found not guilty
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It took a day of deliberating for jurors to decide a Fresno man who shot and killed Daniel Cabrera last year, was not guilty of murder.
49-year-old Jack Varela could be set free now anytime. The victim's family stormed out of court angry and shouting moments after the verdict came down.
Daniel Cabrera's family sobbed and cursed as deputies escorted them out of court.
Cabrera's sister punched the door as she left. But Jack Varela's wife and kids cried tears of joy and relief.
Jack Varela wiped away tears moments after he learned he'd been cleared of first degree murder, second degree murder and voluntary manslaughter.
Outside court, his wife Mary said she felt jurors finally saw how things were last Memorial Day, when a big family fight ended after jack shot his brother in law, Daniel Cabrera.
Jack Varela's wife Mary Varela said, "I'm just glad that the truth has come out and my husband is gonna be released because it was how we said to begin with. We were in danger and he acted in the spirit of the moment and saved our lives."
During the trial Varela's attorney told the court this was a case of self-defense. Doug foster felt a few key points helped jurors reach this conclusion.
Varela's attorney Doug Foster said, "I think the fact of the toxicology results on the victim showing that he was just not only under the influence of methamphetamine, but with such high levels, I think that was pretty powerful evidence in this case."
Blood evidence on a hammer is another fact attorney Doug Foster says helped convince jurors Varela was not guilty of murder.
Prosecutors said the case wasn't without some challenges.
Steve Wright, Dept. District attorney said, "It was a tough case for both sides. I obviously respect the jury's verdict, they had a tough job to do and they did it. I am disappointed but the jury did their job and that's all I can ask."
Cabrera's death has split the families. Daniel Cabrera was married to jack's sister at the time of his death. Cabrera and Varela had ongoing issues in months leading to the fatal shooting. Both families lived on the same property.
Even the wives were in a physical fight when Varela fired. Mary says the outcome has led to major problems between the families.
"They have been making death threats to me throughout this whole trial. That's why I've been secluded and kept away so right now we're waiting for the sheriff's to walk us down." Mary said.
So, as soon as his paperwork is processed at the jail Varela will be walking out. After hearing his fate, Varela's attorney said his client told him he is looking forward to getting a job and returning to work.
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