REDMOND SCHIAVONE
John Carrington  /  AP
Sharron Nicole Redmond, left, hugs her attorney Michael Schiavone on Wednesday in Savannah, Ga., after a jury acquitted her in the shooting death of her two-timing boyfriend, Kevin Shorter.
updated 3/16/2005 11:50:31 PM ET 2005-03-17T04:50:31

A beauty queen who shot and killed her two-timing boyfriend was acquitted of murder Wednesday after claiming she acted in self-defense.

Sharron Nicole Redmond admitted shooting her boyfriend outside the home of another woman he was dating but said she thought he was reaching for a gun. He did not have a weapon.

Redmond, 23, had faced an automatic life sentence if convicted of Kevin Shorter’s 2003 slaying. Four months earlier she had been crowned Miss Savannah.

The jury of nine women and three men deliberated for a little more than nine hours over two days.

Redmond gasped and sobbed as she heard the verdict. Through tears, she mouthed the words “thank you.”

‘Walking out the back door’
One of her attorneys, Michael Schiavone, said Redmond felt “like the weight of the world was off her shoulders. You have no idea what it feels like to be accused of a crime like murder, being one step from walking into the lockup for the rest of your life or walking out the back door with me.”

Shorter’s parents left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.

“There was nothing we would do differently if we had to present it again,” prosecutor Jerry Rothschild said. “I think it’s time to accept the verdict and go home.”

Shorter, 25, had dated both Redmond and Rachel Hall for about three years. Both women said Redmond went to Hall’s home the night of the shooting to clear up allegations Redmond had made harassing phone calls to Hall. Both testified they talked peacefully.

Prosecutors argue for jealous rage
Shorter arrived soon after Redmond and shouted angrily at her, using sexual insults.

Prosecutors argued Redmond shot Shorter in jealous anger after, in Hall’s presence, he told the beauty queen he no longer wanted her and she was good for nothing but sex.

Redmond testified she intended the shot as a warning because she feared Shorter was reaching for a gun in his car; she said didn’t aim at Shorter. Crime scene photos showed a dent on Shorter’s car where the bullet appeared to have ricocheted before hitting him in the right buttock, severing his femoral artery. Shorter died from blood loss three days later at a hospital.

Redmond said Shorter had beaten her throughout their relationship.

“The whole key to the case was intent,” Schiavone said. “The state had to prove intent to kill to prove their charges.”

Jurors told deputies they did not want to comment on the case.

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