Maxim Model Murder Trial Ends in Not Guilty Verdict

06/04/2013 at 04:20 PM EDT

Alleged Hitwoman Acquitted of Murdering Maxim Model Juliana Redding
Juliana Redding
Santa Monica Police Department/AP
An alleged hired hitwoman was acquitted Tuesday of murdering Maxim magazine model Juliana Redding.

Friends of Redding screamed that Kelly Soo Park was a killer as the last of the not guilty verdicts were announced in Los Angeles Superior Court. Bailiffs escorted Park out a back way.

The jury initially acquitted Park of first-degree murder, then returned after lawyer arguments with an acquittal on the lesser charge of second-degree murder.

Redding, 21, a brunette beauty originally from Arizona, had moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in modeling and acting and scored layout in the magazine's "Hometown Hotties" spread in 2008 before she was killed that year.

Prosecutors alleged Redding was strangled by Park in the model's Santa Monica apartment under contract by a former business partner of Redding's father.

The prosecution case relied heavily on DNA evidence, which the defense told the jury could not be trusted.

"We believed in our case and the strength of our evidence," Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement. "We fought hard and fair in the court of law to obtain justice. Although we disagree with the verdict, we respect our system of justice."

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