Saturday, July 26, 1997 | 2:51 a.m.
"You've said all along, this is the day you've been waiting for. You're a free man," District Judge Don Chairez told Charles Early, 25, after a jury returned its verdict Friday.
Early was a co-defendant with Carl Holmes in the Jan. 6, 1996, slaying of Charles Vespia. Holmes, 22, pleaded guilty to a charge of accessory to murder after the fact and agreed to testify for the prosecution in the case.
The prosecution charged the two men led Vespia, 25, to a dark parking lot where Early shot Vespia in the head.
Early, Holmes and Vespia all worked out at a local gym and all dealt steroids, Deputy District Attorney Peggy Leon said. She said that on the night of the slaying, Vespia was to give Holmes $10,000, his part of a large steroid buy they both hoped would turn a profit.