PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Panama City Beach man on trial for second-degree murder, learned his fate Thursday afternoon.

After a four-day trial jurors deliberated about three and a half hours before delivering a verdict in Robert Larry Butler’s case.

Jurors determined the 60-year-old was not guilty of killing Samuel Hassler on July 30, 2020.

During Wednesday’s testimony, Butler admitted on the witness stand to shooting Hassler, but Butler claims he feared for his life and killed Hassler in self-defense.

Butler said Hassler’s girlfriend, Starla Cooper, came to his apartment at Cabana West in Panama City Beach, on the night of July 29, 2020.

During closing arguments, Prosecutor Peter Overstreet said Butler was in love Starla Cooper and wanted Hassler dead.

“Robert Butler told you he did not like Samuel Hassler no matter how much he wanted to deny it you know from the evidence, from his phone, from the testimony of Starla Cooper that Robert Larry Butler was interested romantically and sexually in Starla Cooper,” Overstreet said.

Butler said Cooper did her laundry, then fell asleep.

Cooper claims she lived at the apartment.

Prior to her arrival that night, she testified she and Hassler traveled to DeFuniak Springs to use meth and heroin.

They’d planned to return and move her property out of the apartment.

But Butler’s attorney Waylon Graham argued Cooper was too impaired by drugs to depict what happened that night accurately.

“During those 5-6 minutes the state would have us believe that we can rely upon the testimony of the conniving, scheming liar,” Graham said.

Hassler showed up at 4:30 a.m. that morning, he and Butler physically struggled.

That’s when Butler shot and killed Hassler.

Cooper then stabbed Butler in the elbow and back before he could lock himself in a bathroom and call 911.

“The hardest part here is to help the jury see this was what it was, that it is a self-defense case. The people involved were heavy, heavy drug users. They were somewhat scary and they did some stuff that really, really scared Mr. Butler and put him in genuine fear for his safety and he did what he had to do to protect himself,” Graham said.

The jury believed Butler and his Defense Attorney Waylon Graham’s version of what happened, finding Butler not guilty.