Jury finds Caryn Kelley not guilty of manslaughter in death of boyfriend

College Park tells reporters she's going to Disney World

ORLANDO, Fla. - Jurors have found a College Park woman accused of killing her boyfriend in 2011 not guilty on Tuesday of manslaughter charges.

While leaving the courthouse, Caryn Kelley was asked what she's going to do next.

"Go to Disney World," she replied.

Kelley was charged with manslaughter in the death of Phillip Peatross, 46, who died of a gunshot wound to the face at a home in the College Park area of Orlando.

Local 6 spoke to Peatross' family after the verdict.

"I just think overall it was a very senseless death.  It's a shame it's tragic that it happened," Cathy Peatross said. She said her brother had only dated Kelley for about a year before his death. Cathy Peatross says she believes Kelley never showed remorse.

"I hold no animosity, at all whatsoever, really and truly whatever happened is between her and God," said Cathy Peatross.

Peatross' father was moved to tears when talking about his son, but says he respects the jury's verdict.

"He would help everyone in need even if he saw someone on the street," said Louis Peatross of his only son. "I'll go along with what they (the jury) say although I'll go along with it but I don't necessarily agree with it."

Peatross left behind four daughters from his first marriage.

Jurors decided to begin deliberations Tuesday night after closing arguments ended earlier in the day.

On Tuesday, prosecutors called two rebuttal witnesses to the stand -- Peatross' former girlfriend and a former co-worker of the victim. Prosecutors tried to show that Peatross was not suicidal, as the defense suggested.

The state also tried to suggest Kelley may have killed her boyfriend because he refused to leave his wife.

Last Friday, Kelley announced she would not be taking the stand in her own defense because she was too emotional, despite her lawyer promising jurors Kelley would explain how and why Peatross was shot to death.

The defense urged jurors not to hold the last-minute decision against Kelley, pointing out she had a constitutional right to remain silent.

The defense said Kelley mistook her boyfriend for an intruder in her College Park home and grabbed a gun. Once Kelley realized who it was, the defense says Peatross tried to wrestle the gun away and shot himself.

The state said Kelley told police several different versions of what happened that night two years ago. Kelley cried as the state played her 911 call, in which Kelley told the operator that her boyfriend didn't shoot himself. Kelley's attorney says that call was made while Kelley was dealing with a traumatic situation and was intoxicated.

Prosecutors said Kelley was culpably negligent by handling the gun around her boyfriend while drunk, which they believe made a manslaughter case.

Kelley voluntarily withdrew her lesser-included offenses on Tuesday, so the jury could only choose between manslaughter or not guilty.

If convicted, Kelley would have faced up to 30 years in prison.

Watch Local 6 for more on this story.

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