Andre Wareham was cleared of all charges in the 2009 stabbing death of Bill Atkins.
FILE -- Andrew Wareham is escorted from court by police in this March 2011 file photograph. On Friday, Wareham was found not guilty of the second-degree murder charges he faced.
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Andre Wareham was overwhelmed after hearing a jury find him not guilty on charges of second-degree murder in the 2009 death of Bill Atkins.
“I’m OK. I’m just glad it’s over. It’s been a long road,” he said Friday outside of the Superior Court of Justice.
The jury found Andre Wareham not guilty on all charges Friday morning, accepting the defence’s case that Wareham was defending himself after Atkins attacked him at the apartment complex they both resided at.
Wareham was charged with second-degree murder after he fatally stabbed 29-year-old Atkins on Jan. 14, 2009.
The past three years have been difficult for Wareham, who has remained in custody throughout the legal proceedings. He said he just had to stand strong and see it to the end.
“This is a tragedy all the way around. In an essence, I don’t feel there are really any winners, but justice was seen. This was self-defense. This wasn’t intentional,” he said.
Atkins’ common-law wife and the mother of his two children, who wanted only to be known to media as Audrey W, said she hopes Wareham learned from this situation.
“He’s the only one who almost destroyed two lives, but definitely destroyed one,” she said.
During the trial, the defense argued that Atkins was violent and became dangerous when he was drunk. That’s a description that Audrey never agreed with.
“He was a good man,” she said. “He was not some monster that they are trying to portray him as. I just want to get that clear. He had faults like everybody … he was a good man and a good father, a good son.
“He was trying to get passed his past,” she added. “Nobody’s perfect.”
When Atkins’ died, Audrey was four months pregnant with their daughter.
Atkins’ mother, Eva McDermott, said she’s lost faith in the justice system and said her son wasn’t a drunk or a drug addict.
“He cleaned himself up long before the baby was born and he won’t get to see his baby girl,” she said tearfully outside of the courthouse.
“I hope the bastard rots in hell,” she said of Wareham.
It’s been a hard three years for Atkins’ family.
“I still wait for him to come home because he told me ‘Mommy, I’ll be right back’ and gave me a kiss right here,” she said, pointing to her cheek.
Wareham’s lawyer Steven Hinkson echoed his client’s sentiment that the situation was a tragedy and there was loss on both sides.
“It’s not something (Wareham’s) ever going to forget,” he said, adding the jury saw what Wareham has been maintaining from the beginning.
“Justice was served,” he said.
Follow Jodi Lundmark on Twitter: @JodiL_reporter
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