Jury acquits Charleston Wells in the murder of Mike Gilotti

Charleston Wells

A jury in Birmingham has acquitted the first of four teenagers to stand trial on murder charges in the slaying of a veteran and father of two. Wells is not able to walk away free. A judge will sentence him July 18 on eight convictions of unlawful breaking and entering a vehicle.

Wells never claimed he did not do the break-ins. The teenager's family is thankful jurors believed he did not kill Gilotti.

Ten days of trial. Six filled with testimony. Four bogged down with deliberations. All lead to a verdict of not guilty of murder and relief for Wells' family.

"If you have God in your heart anywhere and you know you are right, you follow God and nothing can be done. God sits high and looks low every day," said Wells' uncle, Jesse Wells.

More than 30 witnesses testified in the trial, including Wells and a co-defendant, who told jurors Wells shot Gilotti.

"We are a praying family. We stick together and we will continue sticking together. We will continue to pray to God we overcome all of this.. All we can do is put it in his hands," added Wells.

None was enough to convict Wells. Gilotti's family avoided cameras. Wells' family offered a message to Gilotti's wife.

"To Mrs. Gilotti, I am sorry for your loss and send condolences. I pray all is well everything will come out with justice. I hope the person did this serve for this crime," added Wells.

Defense Attorney Charles Salvaggio hugged and talked to his client seconds after hearing, "not guilty of murder."

"He said something like thank God, thank God. Something like that. He was crying," said Salvaggio.

Salvaggio is reminded there are no winners.

"This lady lost her husband. He was an American hero. I always felt, in my heart, this kid did not do it. I felt like that and I could not turn my back on him," added Salvaggio.

Gilotti's widow, Heather, released a statement:

"I have the upmost respect and appreciation for the prosecution, as well as all the men and women in blue that have made it their mission to seek justice. I have prayed for God's wisdom and for His will to be done from the very beginning of this case. This is the outcome that we are left with. I'm not one to argue with God. I feel that in this case God may want to exemplify grace over earthly justice. I've got two young boys at home that I can't wait to get back to."


More in the Gilotti case:

Testimony in Charleston Wells' murder trial continues

Hundreds, holding flags, line the highways to support family of soldier killed

Lake Cyrus community take steps to enhance security day after war veteran is found dead

Bessemer teen charged with murder in fatal shooting in Hoover's Lake Cyrus community

Suspect in Mike Gilotti's shooting death asks for trial outside Jefferson County

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