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Man, 76, found not guilty after confessing to abusing child

Posted at 7:41 PM, Dec 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-15 19:42:16-05

John Sheehan, 76, was found not guilty of sexual abusing his 4-year-old neighbor nearly 30 years ago, Friday.

The jury made up of four women and two men took under two hours to return the verdict.

According to an arrest report, Sheehan confessed to sexually abusing the child because he thought the statute of limitations had expired.

After spending two years in jail Sheehan walked out of a Palm Beach County court room a free man, Friday.

"I think the evidence was as a whole was inconsistent time and time again and I think this was the right verdict and we're happy that he will be home with his family for Christmas," Summer Barnes, Assistant Public Defender said.

She would not elaborate on what those inconsistencies were.
The state attorney didn't want to talk on camera. Later, we received a written statement from the state attorney's office. 

"This is a substitute judge who has sat on two capital sexual battery cases, both with a finding of not-guilty.” 

Leaving the courthouse with his partner Susan Bell he wouldn’t talk about his supposed confession to police, but he did call the verdict an early Christmas gift. 

"I'm happy, I'm going home," Sheehan said.