Jurors in the case deliberated for less than three hours before reaching their verdict.
Dressed in a sweater vest and tie, Fells, 28, wiped the tears from his eyes as the foreperson read the jury’s decision around 3.p.m Tuesday.
He had been charged with first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault, and four weapons charges.
Prosecutors argued at trial that Fells and Freeman had dated the same woman and that tension had been building between them for months.
But Fells’ defense attorney’s argued that the government failed to show evidence of that relationship, and that the government’s star witness, Markell Gordon, had been less than truthful about the events surrounding the shooting.
During closing arguments Tuesday morning, Fells’ defense attorney Kia Sears shared with the jury a number of different scenarios that could explain how Freeman was murdered and by whom.
Sears said that it was possible that Gordon had attempted to rob Freeman, but that the robbery had gone awry. Sears told the jury that Gordon, who was in the hospital while being interviewed by police shortly after the shooting, pointed the finger at Fells to keep the police from suspecting himself as the shooter.
Freeman was killed August 5, 2011. Fells was arrested seven days later and was detained while he awaited trial. Judge Ronna Beck signed a release order for him Tuesday afternoon following the jury’s verdict.
Fells was initially identified in court documents under the name James Fields.