A man accused of threatening his wife and her family was found not guilty by a jury in Merced County Superior Court on Friday.
Jurors acquitted Hilmar resident Paul Vitorino, 32, of one felony count of making terrorist threats.
He was accused of entering a Lander Avenue business in Hilmar where his wife worked on Aug. 11, 2008, telling her he'd shoot and kill her, along with members of her family. At the time, Vitorino and his wife were going through a bitter divorce.
John Garcia, Vitorino's attorney, maintained the case was a "he-said, she-said," situation, saying the Merced County District Attorney's Office had tried to make a "fine silk purse out of an old sow's ear."
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The defense claimed although the couple had been quarreling over money and property, the threats never happened.
Vitorino shed tears of joy and exchanged hugs with friends and family members after the verdict was read. "I don't believe (the jury) found the victim credible," Garcia said. "(Vitorino) comes off as sincere and honest. Truth is the easiest thing to remember. He was very consistent -- and I think frankly (the jury) believed him over her."
During the trial, Vitorino testified in his own defense. His wife and members of her family also testified.