An American millionaire, who said he accidentally killed a neighbour in self defence and then chopped up the body, was found not-guilty of murder, in Galveston, Texas on Tuesday.
New York real estate heir Robert Durst said he dismembered the body of 71 year old Morris Black because he feared no one would believe his story.
The jury took five days to reach the verdict, bringing a startling end to a grisly case that began to unfold when trash bags containing pieces of Black started washing up along Galveston Bay in 2001.
The 60 year old Durst appeared stunned when he heard the verdict.
During nearly four days on the stand, Durst testified that he found Black in his apartment with Durst's gun on September 28, 2001.
The millionaire claimed that the gun went off during a struggle, hitting Black in the face.
Durst told the court that he panicked and feared police would not believe his story, so he used two saws and an axe to cut up the body and then threw the pieces into Galveston Bay.
The victim's head has never been found.
Prosecutors alleged that Durst made sure the head was never discovered because it could have proved Black's death was intentional.
Durst came under suspicion after a receipt with his name on it was found in the trash bags containing Black's remains.
He said he could not recall details about dismembering the body, but when pressed by a prosecutor, he said it was "a nightmare with blood everywhere."
The New York millionaire allegedly remains under suspicion in the 1982 disappearance of his first wife and the 2000 shooting death of her friend Susan Berman, a Los Angeles writer who was set to be questioned about the missing woman.
But he has not been charged in either case.
Durst met Black after moving from New York to Galveston, where the millionaire initially posed as a mute woman to allegedly escape attention in the two other deaths.
He later dropped the masquerade and became friends with Black, who lived across the hall from him in a low-rent apartment building.
Durst's attorneys said the friendship soured because of the elderly man's increasingly belligerent behavior.
Durst and other witnesses testified Black often flew into rages and got into fights.