MARTINEZ -- A Contra Costa County jury has found an Oakland man who fatally shot his cousin in Richmond last year not guilty of murder.

The jury deliberated for fewer than two hours on Monday before acquitting 32-year-old Jafari Sargent of all charges in the Sept. 12, 2012, slaying of 27-year-old Richmond resident Isaiah Thomas Jr. at a third cousin's house.

Sargent, who has no criminal record, testified that he shot Thomas in self-defense during an argument in which Thomas grabbed for a shotgun. The prosecution argued that Sargent had no reason to think Thomas was going to fire the pump-action shotgun filled with bird shot when Thomas knew Sargent was holding a Glock pistol.

"He was put in a position where in a split moment in time he was forced to do something he never wanted to do, which was to hurt anybody, particularly his own cousin," Sargent's attorney, Colin Cooper, said. "It's a tragic situation, and I'm just glad he was acquitted. I'm extremely grateful to the system, as is he."

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