WASHINGTON -- It was a speedy acquittal for Louisville, Ky., high school coach David Jason Stinson, accused of murder in the heat exhaustion death of one of his players.
Max Gilpin, 15, collapsed last year during practice on a 94 degree day, and died three days later.
"A child died on a football field he was run to death," prosecuting attorney Jon Heck argued. "He needed a break."
Prosecutors said the coach's regime was brutal and that he ran too many wind sprints and withheld water, which they say led to Gilpin's death.
"At what point does a reasoning person say, a high school football coach say, 'I think I've got a bad environment? What point do you stop?" Heck argued.
But the coach's supporters, including many of his players, said they did get breaks, and that Gilpin's death wasn't Stinson's fault.
The defense argued that the teenager died from a mix of bodybuilding supplements in his system and medicine for attention deficit disorder.
"He was a walking cocktail that day," defense attorney Alex Dathorne said.
Stinson's friends and supporters at Louisville's Pleasure Ridge Park High School expressed relief at the verdict and said they hope he can get his life back.
Stinson is now free to reapply for coaching positions, but he still faces a civil suit from Gilpin's family.
In the meantime, the Kentucky legislature has put in place new safety measures designed to protect high school players in the wake of Gilpin's death.