ALBANY, Ga. -- A jury acquitted Brian Jeremy White of armed robbery and aggravated assault Friday, according to court officials.
White was accused of stealing a purse from Eric Hayes and shooting him in the left leg during the crime on Sept. 11, 2011. Defense attorney James Finkelstein and District Attorney Greg Edwards disagreed as to what brought the jury to the acquittal.
Finkelstein said the victim's cross-dressing lifestyle had nothing to do with the verdict. The contradictions in the victim's testimony led to the acquittal, he added.
As what he called just one example, Finkelstein said, "In initial testimony to police at the hospital, the victim said the suspect had his face partially covered." In later testimony, Finkelstein said, Hayes said White's face was not covered at all.
In another example noted by Finkelstein, Hayes testified White put a gun to his face. That is why Hayes handed over his purse. In an earlier video testimony, Hayes said the gun was taken out after the theft of the purse.
Finkelstein also called White's alibi solid. White's parents testified that he was at home with them.
Edwards said he thought that White's conventional parents contrasted enough with the appearance of Hayes on the stand testifying in women's clothes, pearl earrings and hairstyle to possibly make a difference.
"There was probably some jury nullification because of the victim's lifestyle," Edwards said. "Probably (the parents') credibility as perceived by the jury had something to do with it. That is, as opposed to the victim's lifestyle."