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2014-03-27 at 13:26

Not guilty

By Jodi Lundmark,
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Kesley Jacob is a free man. 

The 35-year-old Summer Beaver First Nations man was found not guilty Thursday by a jury on the charge of manslaughter in connection with the 2011 death of Barney Beaver, 53, at the Superior Court of Justice.

The judge delivered the charge to the jury Thursday morning and by defence lawyer George Joseph's count, it took one hour and 12 minutes for the jury to reach a verdict.

"My client is probably a little too emotional for words right now but he is relieved that for the last two years - more than two years now - he's lived with this," said Joseph shortly after the verdict was read.

"He's glad that it's over and in his own words, he's just happy to go back on with his life."

During the trial, Jacob testified a physical altercation happened between the two men after Jacob walked in on Beaver "violating" his wife.

Jacob described Beaver as being a friend and like an uncle prior to the incident.

The court heard how Jacob, along with his common-law wife, spent the evening of Dec. 16, 2011 with Beaver having drinks in his hotel room at the Victoria Inn before going down to Chicago Joe’s restaurant.

After a few more drinks the group, which included one other man, returned to the hotel room.

Jacob said he had gone outside to have a cigarette with one of the other members of the group, leaving his common-law spouse alone with Beaver.

Both Beaver and Jacob's wife were described as intoxicated at the time they were left together in the hotel room.

When Jacob returned, he saw his wife on the bed with her pants and underwear down around her ankles with Beaver standing over top of her.

That's when the physical altercation between the two men occurred.

When he left the room, Jacob said Beaver was attempting to stand up using support from furniture in the room. He said Beaver ordered them out of the room, threatening to call police if they didn't leave.

Beaver was found unconscious in the room the next morning and died in hospital nearly a week later.

Jacob was originally charged with aggravated assault but it became a homicide case upon Beaver’s death.

The trial was the last jury trial to be held at the Camelot Street courthouse.

"This particular courthouse has a lot of history to it and I was glad to be part of that history and I'm glad everything worked out for Mr. Jacob," said Joseph.

With files from Matt Vis. 

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