A Richfield man charged with shooting another man nine times was acquitted of first-degree premeditated murder Wednesday in Hennepin County District Court.

Jonathan Tadeo Bello-Sanchez, 24, was charged in June 2013 in the shooting death of Fernando Leon-Celis, 20, inside Bello-Sanchez’s home.

The defense argued that Bello-Sanchez was acting in self-defense.

The jury deliberated for nearly four days before announcing their decision early Wednesday, said Daniel Gerdts, Bello-Sanchez’ attorney.

According to charges, Bello-Sanchez said the two were arguing about money when the shooting occurred.

Bello-Sanchez told Leon-Celis that “he did not owe him anything.” Leon-Celis punched him in the face, so Bello-Sanchez punched back.

He said that Leon-Celis went for the gun in his pants pocket when Bello-Sanchez pulled it out himself, fired a round into a bag, then shot Leon-Celis several times, according to the criminal complaint.

“I don’t think the case should have been charged in the first place. It was a self-defense case,” Gerdts said. “Mr. Bello-Sanchez and his family are very happy that the jury agreed with me that he was acting in legitimate self-defense.”


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