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Man acquitted in murder of Michigan college football player

(Reuters) - A man accused of murdering and robbing an Eastern Michigan University football player last October was acquitted of all charges by a jury on Monday.

Ed Thomas, 21, was found not guilty in the murder of Demarius Reed, a 20-year-old wide receiver with the Eastern Michigan Eagles who had dreams of playing in the National Football League.

During the three-day trial in Washtenaw County Trial Court in Ann Arbor, Thomas' alleged accomplice Kristopher Pratt testified that he shot Reed twice in his off-campus apartment building last October while Thomas stole his smart phone and wallet.

The defense argued that Pratt was lying in order to secure a lighter sentence.

In an earlier proceeding, Pratt pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and faces a minimum sentence of 18 years in prison.

During Thomas' trial, prosecutors argued that Thomas had handed Pratt the gun and that he was an active participant in the robbery, making him just as guilty of murder as Pratt.

"The Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office respects the decision of the jury and the hard work they performed on this difficult and tragic case," the Prosecutor's Office said in a statement following the acquittal.

(Reporting by Fiona Ortiz in Chicago; Editing by Curtis Skinner and Peter Cooney)

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