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updated: 10/26/2012 7:44 AM

Chicago man acquitted in Rockford murder trial

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BAssociated Press

ROCKFORD -- A jury in Rockford has found a Chicago man not guilty of first-degree murder in a case involving a gun battle in a restaurant parking lot.

Forty-nine-year-old Charles Knight was acquitted Thursday in the April 2005 death of 21-year-old Joshua Irwin.

Prosecutors had accused Knight of robbing Irwin outside a Rockford Pizza Hut and shooting the Rockford man in the head. Defense attorneys contended there was no robbery and that Irwin pulled out his own gun and fired at Knight, who shot back in self-defense.

The verdict stunned Irwin's family. Gloria Wallace says she can't believe that the man who killed her son was found not guilty.

Knight won't, however, be a free man. He must serve a 25-year prison sentence for an unrelated armed robbery in Lake County.

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