Transcript for NY Man Found Not Guilty in Murder of Ex's Son
Good dramatic verdict tonight in the mysterious murder case of a twelve year old boy the College Soccer coach accused of strangling his ex girlfriend's son. The judge's announcement rocks the child's family and divided a small New York town tonight the defendant speaks out telling a very different story than the prosecution. So who signed the truce here's ABC's Elizabeth Vargas. It's judgment day in a case that's prompted national headlines and divided a community nearly five years after the brutal murder of young Garrett Phillips and after three weeks of trial the accused. 42 year old soccer star turned coach nick Hillary. Is about to hear his feet. It is the judgment of this court that as to the charge of murder in the second. 2011. A rainy afternoon in Potsdam new York and twelve year old Garrett Phillips is heading home from school. Tell me about his personality as to seem like he was the hundred miles an hour all the time soccer lacrosse hockey football while. An all around that I guess until recently Tandy and nick can Bennett couple even living together. Which had raised eyebrows in the small town do you feel it is stuck out and yet most definitely you know sometimes you do you only want. Of course ending grocery stores. That day in 2011. Across the hall for attendees apartment college students Shawn hall and Marisa Vogel here's something. I said did you hear that. We were both commands that we had heard eating our Powell and then definitely help so I knew it was one of the children right away it just sounded very. Marisa goes to investigate knocks on the door just. It was completely quiet until I heard a click of a lack. It was instant goosebumps. Additionally continental break up although he's sorry yeah I carried out. Creamy light Knoll and held a couple I. When police finally get inside Garrett Phillips is lying on the floor at his mother's bedroom. Initially my officers were focused on saving fiercely point that and really nobody knows who they had a what they they call for medical intervention immediately. That's when the emergency response again he is rushed to the hospital. And then the shocking autopsy. Rug burns on Garrett flames suspicious marks on his face and neck. The cause of death suffocation. And strangulation. Twelve year old Garrett Phillips was murdered. Did police ask you who would want to harm your son. Yes. Was like. Everybody liked care and you know we're never had a problem with care and then. Saddam. There was one person just one just. It wasn't neck. Nick calorie yes. Candy says nick and Garrett didn't get along she told me that here donors tonight he neck and don't live here within any. Rule two days after the murder the police ask Hillary to visit the station Q3 says police held him against his will all day like you think. There's this to happen. Of. Fervor to get you the beach is a thing I have crossed the line. Huff being a Blackman. Honestly. Do you think it's all about race it is. I sincerely think it's all about race after three days of searching the crime scene authorities can find no evidence linking nick Hillary to Gary it's murder we didn't. Get any evidence from the items that. We're tested by the the forensic center in Albany since no DNA no hairs no fibers. Really nothing they do find four sets of fingerprints on this window none of them belonged to nick Hillary. And it was the only way out for the killer. He appears to have jumped from that window a daunting leap. It's. It's pretty far down it's around twenty feet from the window sill. Down to the ground police had suspected Hillary from the start. He secretly filmed him pacing the sidelines of a soccer game hasn't coached high. Capturing evidence of what they say appears to be a limp. You didn't jump out a window and injuring her ankle trying to escape no I didn't not. I absolutely. Have nothing. To do would. The death of Karin Phillips Knick killer rate is eventually indicted for murder. Prosecutors say a possible motive perhaps the hope that with her son gone Tandy might come back to Hillary. Or fury at that child who caused the breakup. With ten jurors already selected for trial nick Hillary's defense team suddenly asks for a bench trial. Choosing to put his fate in the hands of one man judge Felix cortina his lawyers smartly felt. We don't want to take the chance of putting this in the hands of picture. Many names that have been labeled on this defendant are the innocent man be. Wrongfully accused five years after the murder Knick killer Reese trial begins its much to label him exactly what is. The murderer of how lose twelve year old boy nick Hillary. Did not. Killed Jared Phillips. The prosecution's case is based largely on a few moments of security camera video. That video shows Garrett Phillips gate boarding past nick Hillary's parked car at the Potsdam high school. Moments after Garrett passes nick pulls out note. She's he Garrett skateboard buying no I didn't because RBC's surveillance tape shows that he did to go home exactly. Instead that's a pretty extraordinary coincidence very much sauce again what happened yes. Hillary claims he went straight home. But watch carefully instead of turning rate to go straight home Hillary turns left. Prosecutors say he's following Garrett on his way to commit murder why would you turn left when they made a left my intentions. Where to get to the office and I quickly realized I need to make provisions for my daughter home. But that's not what his defense attorney argues during the trial he says Hillary turned left to visit his assistant coach. The inference you can draw from nick making eleven terror is that he's going to in feelings. This case was primarily based on a surveillance video. Potential motive. And his own arguably inconsistent statements. There's no hard evidence like DNA and. Pinger prints. In closing arguments the defense team repeats the phrase reasonable doubt 25 times proof. Beyond a reasonable doubt reasonable doubt reasonable doubt and questions the motive you kill the poor you. With the whole that the mother will come running back into your arms he makes absolutely no sense. Finally just hours ago judge Cuttino with the decision is the judgment of this court that as to the charge of murder in the second degree as charged in the indictment. The defendant oral Nicklaus Hillary is found not guilty. Make Hillary acquitted. And free to go. Think Hillary's an innocent man this legal team is not oblivious to the fact. That there is a family that he left five years still agreed. A final verdict but it towns still divided and still looking for justice for a young boy whose life was cut short. For Nightline I'm Elizabeth Vargas in Potsdam New York. Our thanks to Elizabeth catch the first interview with nick Hillary post verdict and an inside look at the crime scene. Tune in to twenty Twain this Friday.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.