Even though Charlie Reynolds admitted that he killed his longtime friend Joshua Skare with a baseball bat during an altercation, a jury on Friday found Reynolds not guilty on four counts of murder. The jury deliberated for roughly 30 hours before making its decision.
"They obviously struggled with the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of Joshua Skare," Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a statement. "Ultimately, the jury concluded that the state had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that self-defense was not a factor in this case."
"It is a really tough case because there are victims on both sides," said Kevin DeVore, Reynolds' attorney. "He lost his best friend, and he's going to have to struggle with that for the rest of his life."
Reynolds had been charged with first-degree premeditated murder, second-degree murder with intent to kill, second degree murder without intent to kill while committing a first-degree assault and second-degree murder while committing second-degree assault.
Throughout nearly eight days of testimony, the prosecution and defense had agreed that Reynolds, 32, struck Skare with the bat and killed him. Much of testimony centered on whether Reynolds planned or intended to kill Skare.
The men, who had known each other since 1994, had spent the evening of March 15 at Canterbury Park watching ultimate fighting with friends. The pair then went back to Reynolds' Lakeville townhouse to play Wii bowling.
But after they went to bed about 3:45 a.m. on March 16, Skare repeatedly left the living room, where he had been expected to sleep, and entered the upstairs bedrooms of Reynolds and his daughter.
According to Reynolds' testimony, Skare was drunk and became more aggressive each time he was escorted back downstairs, cursing and saying he would sleep wherever he wanted.
The third time it happened, Reynolds testified, Skare pushed him into a banister near the stairs. Fearing for his family and himself, Reynolds said he went downstairs to get the bat.
Reynolds testified that he struck his friend, but did not intend to kill him.
After the verdict, Reynolds went home with his wife and two children.