The husband of a woman who has been missing since February has been found not guilty on a separate stalking case.
Channel 2′s Mark Winne was in Buckhead, where Xavier Breland’s lawyer talked about the disappearance of attorney Ciera Breland as well as Xavier Breland’s acquittal for the first time on Channel 2 Action News at 6 p.m.
Xavier Breland reported his wife missing in February in Indiana, where the couple had recently moved from Georgia. Ciera Breland’s last known sighting, however, was in Johns Creek.
[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]
Since then, police have called Xavier Breland a person of interest in the case.
Another woman, the mother of Breland’s two children, had accused him of stalking by placing a tracking device in a stuffed animal belonging to one of the children. Brittany Lusk had issued a restraining order against Breland in Coweta County.
Defense lawyer Bryan Howard said the jury came back very quickly Thursday with a not guilty verdict in that case.
“He was very emotional,” Howard said. “He showed a lot of emotion because this has been some very hard times for him. He’s been vilified throughout this process unfairly. And it was good to get a little bit of justice.”
Johns Creek police Chief Mark Mitchell said that despite the verdict in the stalking case, Breland remains a person of interest in the disappearance of his wife.
Howard said he believes Xavier Breland is innocent in that case as well.
“He’s cooperated with police. He’s made statements to the police and tried to help them in any way possible,” Howard said.
Mitchell said detectives are still working on running down any leads, but the department still needs the public’s help.
Howard said he requested that the missing person case was kept out of the Coweta County trial because it might have prejudiced a jury.
[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]
“It’s important that everyone keeps an open mind when allegations are made,” Howard said.
He said Breland still has a pending aggravated stalking case in Fulton County, which he hopes will be dismissed due to the evidence in that case was aired in the Coweta trail.
Lusk still has a permanent protective order against Breland issued by a Fulton County judge.
Howard said he hopes he can clear up some of Breland’s pending legal matters and have him out of jail in days.
“You can be accused of whatever, but you get your day in court,” Howard said. “And then in court, that’s when you have to bring the evidence.”
Winne spoke to Ciera Breland’s parents earlier this year. They said they don’t have high hopes of finding her alive.
“I don’t believe she’ll be coming back to us,” her mother said.
“I do pray about it. All the time, 24/7,” her father said.
Brittany Lusk told Winne in a statement Friday:
“To say yesterday’s ruling was a disappointment is an understatement. I’m going to keep fighting for my right to be protected.”
Lusk said the Coweta County judge indicated he would sign a protective order for her in that county.