A Baltimore jury on Monday afternoon acquitted Keith X. Holly Jr., 23, who was accused of murdering James Ingram, 46, two years ago.
Holly had denied committing the crime, and his public defender argued that it was committed by another man, Donte Collins, who has since been killed.
The state's case "just doesn't make sense," said Denise Winston, the defender, during closing arguments.
Prosecutors relied on the testimony of Renee Barnes, Collins' mother and a longtime friend of Ingram's; Yvette Edwards, a neighbor; and Latia Moses, Collins' girlfriend and the mother of his child.
Ingram had been drunkenly arguing with Barnes on the night of Oct. 9, 2010, according to prosecutors. Eventually, he left her house and went to his home in the 3000 block of Presbury St.
Still angry about the argument, Barnes called up her son Donte Collins and together with Holly they went over to see Ingram.
Ingram had grabbed a baseball bat to try to protect himself and got in a scuffle with Collins on the home's porch. During the argument, someone shot Ingram at close range in the neck. Winston argued that there was no room on the porch for a third person to have gotten involved in the fight.
After the shot, Ingram staggered back inside. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
Nash said the state's witnesses were reluctant to come forward because they were scared of Holly.
Collins was shot and killed in December 2011, just three blocks from where Ingram died. Police brought murder charges against Stanley Brunson, whom former Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III described as an "engine for violent crime," in connection with the killing. The case is pending.