MERCER, Pa. (WKBN) — A jury in Mercer County found a man charged with murder not guilty on all counts Wednesday.
Ralph Young, 46, now will be freed from the jail cell he has been in for exactly one year while awaiting trial. He was charged with murder, arson and abuse of a corpse in the shooting death of his brother-in-law, 58-year-old David Dignall.
Dignall’s body was found inside a burned out van in Dec. 20, 2012 in French Creek Township, about 75 miles north of Pittsburgh. The jury deliberated eight hours before reaching its verdict.
Last week, defense attorney Alexander Lindsay said state police and Mercer County prosecutors wrongly focused on Young after relatives claimed he was involved in a property dispute with the dead man. Prosecutors contended Young was unhappy because Dignall and his wife, Young’s sister, bought property from the Young siblings’ mother and were charging Ralph Young to live there.
Young’s attorney said during the trial last week that other people’s DNA and footprints were found at the murder scene.
Assistant District Attorney Daniel Davis argued Young acknowledged being in the area at the time and had access to a shotgun which cannot be found.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.