Daniel James Sharpe has been cleared of murdering Andrew Drake in Batemans Bay, although he has been found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Since the start of February, the 20-year-old from Tarago has been on trial in the Queanbeyan Supreme Court over the stabbing death of Mr Drake at a home in Surfside late in the night of 13 April 2019.
NSW Police found Mr Drake with multiple stab wounds to his torso and he died at the scene.
Sharpe later pleaded not guilty to his murder.
On Tuesday, the jury unanimously agreed Sharpe was not guilty of murdering the 29-year-old, but did find him guilty of the alternative charge of manslaughter.
Members of Mr Drake’s family cried in court after the verdict was delivered.
Sharpe, a short man with short black hair and dressed in a black suit, remained unemotional in the dock, but later could be seen smiling to his lawyer.
The jury began deliberating about a week earlier and on Monday its foreman informed the court they could not reach a unanimous verdict, so Justice Geoffrey Bellew instead asked the jurors to reach a majority verdict of 10-1.
But on Tuesday, prior to the announcement of the verdict, he told the court the jury had sent him a note saying they had come to a unanimous decision.
In a statement later provided to Region Media on behalf of Mr Drake’s family, his sister Lucy Wessell said “to say that our family is disappointed in this verdict is an understatement”.
“The evidence showed that Andrew had defensive wounds on his arms, with numerous incised wounds and a total of 11 stab wounds, with two of those stab wounds into his back,” she said.
“Andrew was a worldly traveller and horseman, who had no criminal history at all.
“We have no justice for Andrew.
“This verdict is monumental disappointment and we are sad beyond belief.”
Sharpe faces a maximum sentence of 25 years’ jail under the charge of manslaughter.
Justice Bellew adjourned the case for a sentencing hearing on 21 April in the Queanbeyan court.