Safford found not guilty on all counts in Dover murder trial

DOVER — Not guilty on all counts was the verdict for a man charged with murder following a deadly shooting at an apartment complex two years ago.

Timothy L. Safford, 44, showed no outward emotion after the seven-woman, five-man jury returned its decision after nearly 12 hours total of deliberations on Wednesday and Thursday. Judge Noel Eason Primos cleared his bond immediately and Mr. Safford was to be released from prison as soon as possible.

Timothy L. Safford

The defense maintained from the outset last week that someone else triggered the gun that killed Sylvester Lee, 41, at Liberty Court Apartments on June 22, 2018. More than 50 people, including Mr. Safford, scattered after shots were fired on a Friday night, according to defense attorney Adam Windett as the trial opened last week.

“I know (Mr. Safford) has to be relieved,” Mr. Windett said after the verdict was announced around 2 p.m.

“This wasn’t a case where we argued that the state hadn’t proved guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, this was a case where we said he was innocent and didn’t do it.”

Deputy Attorney Stephen R. Welch, who prosecuted the case with DAG Lisa Whitelock, said, “We thank the Dover Police Department for its quality work on the case and our heart goes out to the victim’s surviving family.

“The jury at least considered it for 12 hours.”

Mr. Safford was facing the possibility of life in prison for first-degree murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by person prohibited.