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Bereaved Dad Cleared Of Drunk Driver's Murder
A Texas man has been cleared of the fatal shooting of a drunk driver who had just mowed down and killed his two sons.
David Barajas, 32, and his family wept with relief as the verdict was read out on Wednesday, while the family of the dead driver sat in stunned silence.
Mr Barajas had faced up to life in prison if convicted.
Jose Banda, 20, ploughed into Mr Barajas and his sons in December 2012, killing 12-year-old David and 11-year-old Caleb.
The brothers had been helping their father push the family's truck, which had run out of fuel on a dark rural road outside Houston.
Prosecutors alleged that an enraged Mr Barajas returned to his home near the crash site to fetch a pistol, then came back to shoot Banda.
But the gun used to kill Banda, who had a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit at the time of the crash, was never found.
Gunpowder residue tests on Mr Barajas' hands, meanwhile, were negative and there were no witnesses.
Investigators testified that ammunition from a .357-calibre gun was found in the accused's home.
They told the court that a bullet fragment found in Banda's car could have come from such a weapon.
Following his acquittal, Mr Barajas told a news conference: "I am relieved but still in pain.
"My two boys are dead and nothing will bring them back."
The prosecution strongly defended its decision to charge Mr Barajas.
District Attorney Jeri Yenne said they "would never present a case against a person we did not believe was guilty".
Defence lawyer Sam Cammack said Mr Barajas had been too focused on trying to save his sons to think about killing Banda.