South Bend man found not guilty of murder in April shooting

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(Photo supplied/St. Joseph County Police Department)

It only took an hour of deliberations for a jury to find a 21-year-old South Bend man not guilty of murdering his sister’s boyfriend.

Nelson Cotton Jr. was accused of murdering Gary Williams Jr., 34, on April 10 at the Indian Springs apartment complex. Defense attorneys said Cotton shot Williams out of of self-defense.

Williams was sitting in his vehicle in the parking lot at Indian Springs Apartments on April 10 speaking to a relative of Cotton’s. That’s when video footage appeared to show Cotton running up to the vehicle, opening the door and leaning inside, according to court documents.

While a man was leaning into the vehicle, the vehicle’s tail lights comes on as if the vehicle is switching gears. Then the vehicle moves forward and crashes into a building while Cotton ran away, the court documents stated.

Cotton’s defense argued that Williams pulled out a gun during the confrontation. Cotton tried to grab it. In the ensuing struggle, the gun went off and hit Williams.

In a statement, a spokeswoman with the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office said “While our Office is disappointed with the verdict, we respect that verdict and the criminal justice process.”

Cotton’s defense attorney was not available for comment Monday.

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