Marianna Jury Rules Not Guilty in Jernigan Case

A man who claimed self-defense has been acquitted of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of his lover's husband in Jackson County. The husband had forced his way into a mobile home where he found the pair partly undressed.

Robert Jernigan admitted killing Curtis Ryals, but jurors agreed he was justified in shooting the intruder who also tried to strangle him June 21 in the Cypress community east of Marianna. They cleared him after four hours of deliberation Saturday.

The case was unaffected by a new law Gov. Jeb Bush signed last week to let people use deadly force to defend themselves on the streets. Existing law allows a person to use deadly force to protect themselves in their homes.

Assistant State Attorney Mark Sims contended the shooting was neither necessary nor justified because Ryals had stopped his attack before he was killed.