Judge Ron Johnson told James Denver Gross, 23, of Catrons Creek, that he was a free man after the jury returned to the courtroom with a not guilty verdict.
According to court documents, it was alleged that Gross, along with a co-defendant who pleaded guilty to the charges on an earlier date, committed the offense of third-degree burglary and theft by unlawful taking over $300 on Aug. 3, 2003, by entering an outbuilding and stealing several items belonging to Tim Brock, of Watts Creek.
Bill Lucas, a co-defendant, testified that he and Gross both entered the building and that Gross was the one who broke the lock off the door.
The only person two witnesses could positively identify was Lucas. The witnesses said that there was someone else who ran up the hill when they approached, but they were unable to identify that person.
"I was playing basketball when I heard Billy yell at me to come up to the building," said Gross. "After I realized what was going on I got scared and ran up the hill."
Kentucky State Police trooper Jim Young testified that upon his arrival at the residence that he found several items outside the building.
Gross said that he spoke with Young and had told him that he hadn't had anything to do with the building being broken into.
According to Young, some type of pry tool had to be used to get the door open on the building.
Defense attorney Linda West asked Young if he had found any type of tool at the scene that could have opened the door, and he said no.
It only took the jury about 25 to 30 minutes to return from deliberation with a not guilty plea after receiving instructions from the judge about how to find Gross guilty or not guilty.