BUTLER (KDKA) — A jury convicted a man accused in connection with the shooting death of his long-time friend.

The jury has found Eric Rutledge, of Butler County, guilty of third degree murder in the death of Courtney Daily.

“I think it’s a relief to myself and my family and I’m just glad that it’s done and over with,” Daily’s mother told reporters.

“Obviously it’s not what we hoped for, but we thought this was an involuntary manslaughter case,” Alexander Lindsay, a defense attorney, said. “But on the plus side, he was found not guilty of first degree murder.”

The shooting happened back in November of 2010 in Rutledge’s home in Seven Fields.

According to investigators, Rutledge claims the two were passing the gun back and forth and he did not know it was loaded.

He testified the safety had been taken off, but the shooting itself was accidental.

“Eric is crushed,” Lindsay said. “Eric has told me many times and he of course said this, ‘This is my best friend.’

“Eric had told me earlier in the trial that when he pulled the gun to his chest, his dream, so to speak is that she would have pulled the trigger and he would no longer be the one who’s living.”

Daily was 18-years-old when she died.

Rutledge is in the Butler County Jail until sentencing, but could get out if he posts $500,000 bail.

Girl, 18, Dies After Seven Fields Shooting (11/17/10)
DA Meets With Police In Seven Fields Shooting (11/22/10)
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