Jordan Henry Crowe of Prince Albert, Sask., has been found not guilty of second-degree murder in the death of his three-year-old stepson, Dilyn Donald.
Jurors delivered the verdict Friday after a two-week trial in the Court of Queen's Bench in Prince Albert.
The Crown had alleged the child died Dec. 23, 2007, of blunt force head trauma intentionally inflicted by Crowe.
Jurors began deliberating at 2 p.m. CST on Thursday and took more than 12 hours to come to a verdict.
They twice returned to court to tell the judge they were at an impasse. The judge urged them to continue deliberations to reach a verdict.
Their decision was announced in court around 4:30 p.m. CST Friday.
During the trial, the jury learned that Crowe, 31, gave a statement to police on Christmas Eve 2007, saying he had been left to care for his stepson and an infant daughter.
Crowe denied striking the boy but admitted the child might have been hurt when he was pushed into bed.
Crowe's lawyer said his client is relieved.
"It's been almost three years, it's been a difficult three years," Greg Chovin said Friday. "I think everyone can understand and appreciate how difficult that must be."
During the trial, the jury heard medical evidence from pathologist Shaun Ladham, who said the boy had suffered nine blows to the head.
The Crown argued the injuries were sustained only minutes before the child died.
The defence, however, offered another medical opinion, which suggested some of the injuries could have been days old.
The head injuries, the pathologist said, were likely inflicted by a flat object or caused by knocking the child's head into a floor or wall.
Crowe did not testify at the trial, however video statements to police were entered as evidence.
Crowe told police that on the day of the boy's death, Crowe had left the home for a short time, leaving Dilyn with his mother, Jennine Donald.
After he returned, Jennine left the home and Crowe put the child to bed, noting only that the boy had diarrhea.
A few minutes later, Crowe said he heard noises from the boy's bedroom and went to check on him. The child was unconscious and Crowe said he immediately phoned 911.
Medical crews were not able to save the boy.
The mother's testimony during the trial was often inconsistent and it was not clear, from her evidence, who was with the boy and who had left the home and when.
The Crown said that confusion might have troubled the jury.
"Whenever you have a witness that has inconsistent testimony like that, it's got to have some impact," Jennifer Claxton-Viczko told reporters after court Friday. "I mean they're cautioned by the judge in the jury charge to take into account that that witness has changed her story."
Claxton-Viczko said an appeal was not likely, adding it would be up to the Prince Albert police to determine if the case should be reopened.