EFFINGHAM — After his acquittal Friday on first-degree murder charges, Charles Douglas Yoder said he didn't have any hard feelings — even after a 13-month incarceration. All he wanted to do was be outside.
"I missed the sunshine," he said,
An Effingham County jury needed only 2 1/2 hours to acquit Yoder of the murder of Ted L. Debany, who shared an Effingham home with Yoder's half-sister, Elizabeth Walters.
"The system worked," said Yoder, whose friends call him Doug. "I told everybody for 13 months that I shouldn't be here."
Yoder, 53, said he was confident before the jury retreated into its meeting room at the Effingham County Government Center courts building that he would be acquitted.
"I know if the jury did its job, I would be free," he said. "But you always have your doubts."
Yoder, who grew up on Edgar Street in Effingham, said his first priority is to spend some time with family. His mother and two of his sisters spent most of the week seated behind him in the courtroom, but were absent Friday.
Yoder said he leaves 13 months of pretrial incarceration with no hard feelings, even toward Walters, the half-sister who called him out to police for the Debany stabbing.
"She said what she thought was right at the time," he said. "She told seven different stories to four people, because she didn't know what happened."
Yoder said he was the only one at the gathering at 109 N. Lincoln that night who knows the true story of Debany's demise.
"Unfortunately, I am the only one who knows what happened," he said. "I was the only who wasn't completely out of it."
Yoder said he didn't have any hard feelings toward State's Attorney Bryan Kibler, who spent most of the week trying to prove he was a killer.