Jury finds Mitrel Anderson not guilty

Anderson cleared of any wrongdoing

It took a jury just about six-and-a-half hours of deliberation to find 27-year-old Mitrel Anderson not guilty of first-degree intentional homicide in the stabbing death of DeMario Lee.

Anderson was accused of stabbing Lee in the head during a fight at Kwik Trip on Cass Street in La Crosse in June of 2013.  Lee died from his injuries.

Anderson testified Tuesday that he stabbed Lee in self-defense. He is acquitted of first-degree intentional homicide.

Emotions immediately ran high in the packed courtroom as cries and tears erupted on both sides. Friends and family of DeMario Lee left the room right after the verdict, while Anderson hugged his attorneys.

Now, after eight days of trial and more than a year behind bars, Mitrel Anderson was released from jail Thursday night and walks away a free man.

“Ya’ll did it. I’m home ya’ll,” said Anderson. “The justice system really works.”

From the beginning, the trial was never about who killed Demario Lee. The question was as to why and Thursday night the jury said it was self-defense.

The prosecuting attorneys finished their closing arguments late Thursday morning.

Prosecuting Attorney Micheller Keller said, “He didn’t call for help in the bathroom. DeShawn Anderson didn’t call for help when they were in the bathroom. He didn’t run out to get anybody. He didn’t call for help once he escaped that bathroom.”

The defense finished their closing arguments Thursday afternoon.

“Fear is a basic instinct and it is hard-wired into our bodies, that sense of danger and the reaction is always the same to protect ourselves and Mitrel Anderson is no different,” Defense Attorney Elizabeth Wright said.

The jury reached its verdict at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Mitrel Anderson’s girlfriend, Brittany Jones, was sentenced to a year in prison in February after she drove Anderson to Madison after the stabbing. Jones pleaded guilty to aiding a felon.