Family reeling after the man they believe killed their loved one walks free

LIBERTY, Mo. -- “I was just shocked. In my head, in my heart, I gave it almost a zero percent chance those two words were going to come out of the judge's mouth,” said William Mashburn, the victim’s son.

After hearing those two words, not guilty, the son of a murder victim opens up about a jury's decision.

Overnight, a jury returned to a Clay County courtroom after deciding there was not enough evidence to find one murder suspect guilty.

Bryan Middlemas is now a free man.

He had been behind bars, charged with the murder of AT&T worker 58-year-old Kevin Mashburn, who was killed while on a service call in Gladstone back in 2012.

“He told a lot of people what he had done, so we thought it was pretty solid, we were milling around outside, talking amongst ourselves, feeling pretty confident that the jury heard what we heard, and figured it would be a short deliberation, and we`d get that guilty verdict on all counts,” said William.

But William felt like he relived the horror of his dad's murder, when a jury returned a not guilty verdict for the man on trial. The closing statements wrapped up around 5:45 p.m. Thursday evening. Family and friends had waited outside, ready to finally get some closure.

“They deliberated for six hours, right around midnight we got called back in, and he`s free to go,” William added. “We know it was him, that the right guy was in that courtroom.”

William said he was shocked, firmly believing Bryan Middlemas was the killer.

“We stared at the guy that killed my dad for a week, and then in the end, they let him go based on what they heard. I know they`re just doing their job, and they did what they thought was right, and I accept that, and by no fault of their own, it was a mistake,” William said.

Joe Blanco, the President of the Local 6360, the local Union for Communication Workers of America said Kevin was a part of the group for more than four decades.

“A lot of emotion, okay, this is near and dear to our heart. This guy was a part of our family, and that ruling seemed like a terrible injustice,” Blanco said.

Blanco said leading up to this tragedy, Kevin was actively working to enhance the safety of all his coworkers.

“That`s what`s so ironic about this. Kevin was instrumental in trying to get safety protocol instituted, that AT&T, at the time was Southwestern Bell, would recognize and help institute so that we could keep the workers here locally safe,” Blanco said. “I just want to know what happened, why it was that way, and we all want to know, because if this is not the killer, then the killer is still out there.”

Kevin’s son said everyone should be worried, given the brutality of how his dad`s death happened -- a blow to the head with a crowbar.

“He had a pretty vivid recollection of a lot of details of a lot of things, except for when he was asked about that night. He was too high, he suddenly couldn`t remember a single thing,” William said of Middlemas.

“My dad was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It could have been anybody, going forward it could be anybody. I feel like everybody in the community has been done a huge disservice,” William said. “I just can`t even believe that something like this could happen to someone like my dad.”

“This is the most unfair thing,” Williams said, fighting back tears. “He was incredible, we think about him all the time. It`s been a long time. We get together in his honor often.”