Jury acquits man in fatal Murray State dorm fire

BENTON, Ky. (AP) - A jury in western Kentucky has acquitted a man who was being tried for the second time in connection with a deadly 1998 fire at a Murray State University dormitory.

A reporter with The Paducah Sun who covered the trial said the defendant, former Murray State student Jerry Walker Jr., declined comment on his future, saying only "Praise God."

A Marshall County Circuit Court jury deliberated nearly 4 1/2 hours Wednesday before returning the verdict. The trial lasted a week and a half.

Gail Minger, whose son, Michael Minger, was killed in the fire, said she was shocked but declined further comment.

Walker had been charged with manslaughter, arson, assault and wanton endangerment. A 2001 trial on different charges associated with the incident ended with a hung jury.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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