PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Jurors deliberated the fate of Christopher Cox for nearly seven hours, into early Thursday morning. Eventually, they found the 39-year-old not guilty of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder.

Cox was on trial after shooting and killing 14-year-old Lucas Likes. He also shot his step-brother. No one argued Cox didn’t shoot the teenagers. But Cox said he shot them in self-defense.

In testimony Wednesday, Cox said the two tried to rob him of his backpack on March 23, 2021. In his backpack was a gun, that Cox said he told the teens he had in his possession.

Cox said Likes grabbed the bag, and the pair tussled before Cox pulled out the gun and killed Likes. Cox said he was in fear for his life.

The surviving teen testified earlier this week that Cox told him and Likes to walk down to the shoreline behind the Shores of Panama, where they were staying. When he asked him why he said Cox told them he was going to shoot them.

He said Cox then began firing, killing Likes. 

But the teen admitted he and Likes talked about stealing Cox’s bag. He said they never acted on the conversation.

Prosecutors said Cox was acting strangely the weekend before the shooting, after quitting his job. Several witnesses testified that Cox acted strangely in brief interactions. But the defense also presented a witness which said when she met Cox, he acted normally.

The surviving teen also testified Cox acted normally until the shooting occurred. He said he was not in fear for his life, and said it was clear Cox was shooting at Likes. 

Prosecutors urged jurors to find Cox guilty of the ‘evil intent’. But defense attorneys said the prosecution had not presented enough evidence to convict Cox.

Eventually, jurors sided with the defense. They did convict Cox of carry of a concealed weapon. He is currently being held in the Bay County Jail.