Koehler not guilty in brother-in-law slaying

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email | Twitter

A Petal man accused of stabbing his brother-in-law to death is free after a jury found him not guilty of murder Friday afternoon.

Daniel Koehler, 36, got that verdict after almost four hours of jury deliberation and three days of trail.

Koehler was accused of murdering his brother-in-law, Christopher Mason, in November at their Petal home, but the defense claimed the killing was self-defense after Mason began attacking Koehler.

Prosecutors claimed Koehler intended to stab Mason and had every opportunity to avoid the fight. Koehler testified in court that Mason had been fired from his job and he blamed Koehler for that.

"I've represented a lot of defendants and Daniel deserved this verdict, this was the right thing to do, this was the right thing for the jury to do and I thank them for having the courage to do the right thing," said defense attorney Gay Polk-Payton. "Twelve people from different backgrounds, different walks of life today agreed that this man did not deliberately design to kill Christopher Mason."

"I can go home. I spent the last five months in a 9-by-6 cell, no light. I was ready to go home, spend time with my mom, my dad and my family and praise God," said Koehler.

Koehler says he was of course worried the jury may returned a much different verdict, but says justice prevailed.

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