Daniel Kelly, a 22-year-old Madison resident, was found not guilty of first-degree reckless homicide Friday and acquitted of the charge by a jury.
According to a Madison police report, the deadly fight broke out between Kelly and three intoxicated men, including Austin Bodahl of Waconia, Minn., outside the City Bar on State Street May 22.
Police were able to detain Kelly the night of the incident, and the alleged murder weapon was recovered. Bodahl was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, the report said.
According to Assistant Public Defender Dennis Burke, who represented Kelly in the trial with Tracey Lencioni, there were 37 witnesses in the case, which he said was very complicated.
Burke said he was relieved the trial was over and the jury recognized that Kelly had acted in self-defense.
"[Kelly] was minding his own business, and they decided to give this guy wearing a kilt a hard time," Burke said.
Burke said the size difference between Kelly and Bodahl undoubtedly played a role in the case, as Kelly is only about 5 feet, 8 inches and weighs 140 pounds while Bodahl was much bigger.
Burke also said there were three aggressors against one and that Bodahl and his friends were drunk while Kelly was sober.
Although Kelly has a history of mental illness, Burke said his mental issues did not play a role in the trial, as it was not an insanity case. Rather, the jury was told to make their decision based on the "Reasonable Man Standard" — by thinking about what a reasonable man would have done in the situation.
Now that he is free, Burke said Kelly plans to leave Madison Friday to visit his family in North Carolina.
"I think a change of scenery will be good," Burke said.
However, Burke said he would not be surprised to see Kelly frequent State Street again, adding, "He likes it there."
Assistant District Attorney Lana Mades, who did not return calls as of press time, led prosecution against Kelly.