CROWN POINT | A Lake Superior Court jury found a Chicago teen not guilty in the 2008 shooting of John Shoulders, 15, of Hammond.
Shoulder's body was found Aug. 22, 2008, in the driveway of a Robertsdale residence after McDaniel, 16, and co-defendant Martin Villalon were seen with Shoulders.
A jury found Villalon, 18, then of Hammond, guilty in April of Shoulders' murder. He later was sentenced to 60 years in state prison.
Prosecutors in December added gang activity charges to the murder charge against McDaniel, which include a provision doubling McDaniel's sentence if convicted.
Lake County Deputy Prosector Joseph Curosh last week told jurors testimony would include a witness reporting seeing McDaniel and Shoulders exchanging a "complicated handshake" and hearing McDaniel threaten to shoot Shoulders.
The state's evidence of McDaniel's gang activity also included an alleged gang tattoo on McDaniel's wrist.
However, defense attorney Brian Woodward on Tuesday described McDaniel's prosecution as a "witch hunt," arguing testimony and evidence regarding McDaniel's gang membership proved inconclusive or nonexistent.
Woodward told jurors there was no proof McDaniel was anywhere at the scene of the shooting, unlike Villalon who was seen speeding away.
Curosh told jurors the trial was no witch hunt. Testimony and photos were presented to show McDaniel to be a gang member.
"We know (Villalon and McDaniel) were there, and we know what happened next," Curosh said of Shoulders' shooting.