By Ralph Iannotti

NORTH SIDE (KDKA) — Three years to the day after a 12-year-old girl was shot and killed in a North Side gang-related shooting, one of the men originally charged in the case walked out of the Allegheny County Jail a free man.

Anthony Wilson, 33, was acquitted Friday in a non-jury trial before Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Manning. The judge said he believed in Wilson’s alibis.

Friday, on the third anniversary of Jolesa Barber’s slaying, her family held a service at a church, celebrating her short life, but there were also pain evident at the service.

Jolesa’s sister, Rayneisa Wade, spoke.

“For him [Judge Manning] to decide that Wilson was not guilty on her third anniversary, I want the judge to walk in our shoes to see how we feel right now, because that decision was wrong,” she said.

“Wilson gets a not guilty on her anniversary – that’s incredible,” Kimberly Wade, Jolesa’s mother, said. Asked if justice was blind in this case, Wade said, “It is.”

Investigators said Barber was not the intended target when the shots rang out on that cold January night, but her brother was the likely target.

Another defendant in the case, 18-year-old Michael Gist, pleaded guilty to third degree murder and has been sentenced up to 60 years in prison.

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