MARQUETTE - A Marquette County Circuit Court jury acquitted an Ishpeming man Wednesday, who was accused of beating a Negaunee man to death last year.
Thomas Arthur Hyttinen, 38, was charged with a 15-year manslaughter felony in the April 11, 2011 death of Carl Wayne Mercer, 43. The jury deliberated for roughly two hours before rendering its verdict at about 5:15 p.m. Wednesday.
Marquette County Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Wiese said he thought the jury worked hard to review the details of the case and did their job.
"As far as I'm concerned, the system did what it was supposed to do," Wiese said. "I thought it was really a tough call as to whether his (Hyttinen's) self-defense claim was valid and I thought it was best for a jury to make that call."
Defense Attorney Sarah Henderson has a standard policy of not publicly commenting on her cases.
The alleged assault occurred at Hyttinen's apartment at 638 N. Fourth Street in Ishpeming.
According to previous district court testimony, police said Hyttinen told them he had punched Mercer, after Mercer pushed him and swung at him, while Hyttinen sat on the edge of a bed in his Ishpeming apartment.
The altercation occurred after the two men had been out drinking at the Rainbow Bar in Ishpeming with Jodi Arbelius, who was Mercer's girlfriend and Hyttinen's cousin.
Witnesses testified previously that Arbelius and Hyttinen sought to help Mercer before emergency medical personnel arrived. Mercer was later pronounced dead at Bell Hospital.
The trial opened Monday morning.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is jpepin@miningjournal. net.