ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A New Jersey detective was acquitted today of all charges in the killing of a driver during an alleged road-rage incident.
Joseph Walker, an investigator for the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office, has been cleared of first-degree murder in the death of 36-year-old Joseph Harvey, of Lansdowne, Maryland.
The jury took one day to deliberate before delivering a unanimous decision.
Prosecutors say Walker, 41, shot Harvey after the two pulled over in Millersville on June 8, 2013 after some traffic jostling.
Walker testified that Harvey threw something at his minivan and hurled racial slurs at him before forcing him off the road.
Walker's lawyers have said their client thought he, his wife and three children were in danger when he fired his gun.
"We are extremely pleased that the jury was able to see this for what it was - a father forced to defend his family including his wife and children who were under attack on the side of the road," says defense attorney Charles Curlette.
The prosecution contended the detective was just as guilty of road rage as Harvey.
"At the end of the day, I am a concerned that Mr. Walker, as a law enforcement officer, is a very aggressive person," says Anne Colt-Leitess, Anne Arundel County state's attorney. "In this case he had many options, he could have gotten into his car, he could have called 911, but he chose to engage in a road rage incident with Joe Harvey."
Walker is now waiting to see if the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office will return him to duty. He was suspended without pay when he was charged with first-degree murder.
A spokesman for the prosecutor's office says they have no comment at this time.