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Phelps man acquitted of murder charge in Seneca County homicide

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

After one person pleaded guilty in the homicide of a Texas man in Seneca County nearly two years ago, the second person involved was acquitted of the most-serious charge he faced.

Phelps resident Christopher Kesterson was acquitted of second-degree murder but convicted of a felony weapons charge.

The jury delivered the mixed verdict on Friday, following deliberations that started on Thursday. Kesterson faces up to 15 years in prison for second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, with sentencing scheduled for June 13 by Judge Barry Porsch.


Special Prosecutor Dave Mashewske expressed mixed feelings about the verdict, highlighting the complexity of accessorial liability. He noted disappointment in the acquittal on the murder charge but acknowledged the jury’s recognition of Kesterson’s possession and provision of the murder weapon to the actual shooter.

The trial, which stemmed from the shooting death of William “Will” Waugh in September 2022, also saw Wayne Ellison Jr. plead guilty to manslaughter, admitting his role in the shooting.