A Reading man, accused of participating in the murder of a charter school student, was acquitted of all charges Thursday.
Cristian Vasquez Ayala was accused of driving the getaway car following the murder of I-Lead charter school student Ramon Evangelista.
Evangelista, 21, was shot and killed outside the A-Town Cafe in Reading in November 2011, officials said.
Ayala was in the area at the time, and said, through no fault of his own, he was swept up in the drama that was unfolding.
"Yes, I drove a person," said Ayala. "But that person was holding a gun, and I told police I didn't have a choice."
The prosecutor, Dennis Skayhan, told 69 News that he was disappointed with the verdict.
"It's tougher to prove a case against an accomplice than the shooter," said Skayhan. "They just did not have enough evidence."
Ayala said he was innocent from the beginning.
"I always trusted in God," Ayala said in Spanish, "and I always knew the truth would come to light."
Ayala has spent just more than a year in jail, and he said his life have been shattered.
"They destroyed my life. They destroyed my job. They ruined by health," said Ayala in Spanish. "I even had a little money in the bank, and even that's gone."
Ayala was working at Ashley Furniture, and his defense attorney, Jay Nigrini, said he is working to help Ayala get his job back.
"And unfortunately, in situations like those, sometimes people spend a significant amount of time in jail before their name is cleared," Nigrini said.
While he's happy to be a free man, Ayala said he is also consulting with an attorney about the possibility of bringing a lawsuit for all that he has suffered during this past year.