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Trenton murder trial ends in shocking acquittal despite DNA evidence

TRENTON, Mich. – George Hite and Aaron Marshall met at Greektown Casino a few days before the murder, which was their only meeting, according to Marshall. 

"Cellphone records showed that he had multiple phone calls between his cellphone and the victim's," said Sgt. Mike Oakley, a Trenton police detective.

The Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office ruled 65-year-old Hite, who was found killed March 11, 2015, was strangled to death. He was a beloved figure in the Downriver community and a well-known youth league baseball ump. 

Marshall said he had never been Downriver. However, on the suspected day of the murder, Marshall's cellphone pinged a tower near the Woodhaven and Trenton area, which is far from his Detroit home. Marshall's DNA was on the cable used to bind the murder victim. That's something the defense never discredited. 

"Kind of a slight suggestion that maybe there was some DNA transfer from a couple days prior to the victim's death," said Oakley. 

No defense witnesses were called. Yet, after 2 and 1/2 hours of actual deliberation on Tuesday, the jury returned a not guilty verdict. 

"Complete shock. We thought it was a slam-dunk," said Oakley. 

A longtime friend who was at every day of the trial felt she had to comment on Hite's behalf. However, she didn't want to be named in this story because she is fearful. 

"It's horrible. I feel like no justice has been done for George," she said. 

Oakley said he believes Marshall is a murderer and is concerned that he's "out walking among us."