Former teacher Cara Ryan, 47, was found “not guilty” of second-degree murder on Friday, stemming from the fatal shooting of her husband of her ex-husband, Sgt. Josh “J.J.” Rush. The Pinellas County, Florida, jury only needed two hours of deliberations to come up with the verdict.
Tampa Bay News reports that Ryan was on trial for second degree murder, and if she was found guilty, the penalty would have been life in prison.
— Kathryn Varn (@kathrynvarn) January 18, 2017
Defense lawyers built her case around self-defense. They acknowledged that it Ryan indeed shot her husband, but insisted that the woman only shot him to protect herself. Her attorney Roger Futerman said the former teacher’s innocence was clear enough from the beginning that she shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place.
“We never doubted her innocence, from moment one. It was a very quick verdict. I think they made their minds up early on that, that this woman should never have been arrested.”
Ryan shot Rush dead in March 2015, inside her home in India Rocks, Florida. Police arrested her a few days later.
The couple divorced in 2006, but were apparently in an off-and-on relationship following the divorce. Rush ended things in 2015, upsetting Ryan. She texted her ex-husband to come to her house.
While Rush was at Ryan’s home, he saw a text from a detention deputy that she was seeing at the time. The man became irate and left. He reportedly returned moments later, and when he did, Ryan shot him once with a .38 caliber pistol.
Ryan called 911 and said that she’d been raped by her ex-husband.
Prosecutors claimed that the former teacher changed her story. They insisted that during questioning, she gave multiple different stories of what took place at her home.
Futerman rebutted saying that Ryan only shot her ex in self-defense.
“I’m going to kill you. I’m going to kill him. I’m going to bust you open so no man can want you again.”
Ryan’s attorneys said that the jury probably believed her story because prosecutors failed to provide enough evidence.
Futerman said that though Ryan was acquitted, the repercussions of the shooting still haunt her, and will continue to do so.
“Once you get arrested in a case like this you can never recover.”
[Feature Photo: Twitter]