7-Year-Long Legal Battle Ends in Acquittal

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – A Dougherty County jury made its decision in a 2006 murder retrial on Friday.

Charles Gaillard was found not guilty of murder and felony murder. The jury was hung on a charge of voluntary manslaughter.

Gaillard negotiated a plea for voluntary manslaughter and weapons charges. The judge agreed to a plea deal for time served for the 11 years he spent in prison.

Gaillard was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2007.

After a juror in that original trial was disqualified, Gaillard received a retrial this week.

Prosecutors said Gaillard shot and killed Richard Tyrone Hardwick over a $2 bet during a game of pool in 2006.

Gaillard took the witness stand Tuesday and the jurors got to hear first-hand from him which is something not normally done in these types of cases.

The jury found Gaillard not guilty of murder and the felony murder charges.

“We are extremely excited,” said Defense Attorney Jason Sheffield. “And thrilled that the jury is acquitted Charles on murder and felony murder charges. As a result, those decisions by the jury, the state offered to resolve the case for Charles and we were happy to accept the resolution that the state was proposing.”

Gaillard said that he is excited to get back to his family and that he is ready to move on with his life.

“You know it’s, freedom is all we can ask for in life and freedom is something that you know, is not a gift, it’s not a free gift,” said Gaillard. “You have to you know, coming from the state penitentiary, freedom is very well appreciated after 12 years.”

Gaillard walked out of the courthouse a free man just after 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

See the story on walb.com.