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Newport County jury finds murder suspect not guilty in stabbing death of cousin in 2012 fight

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NEWPORT, Rhode Island — A one-time homeless man has been acquitted of murder charges in the stabbing death of his cousin.

After deliberating for about 10 hours over three days, a Newport County jury found Joseph J. Perryman not guilty Tuesday in the death of Anthony Simmons after the two got into an argument in December 2012.

Minutes after leaving the court, the 43-year-old Perryman said he's "about to combust."

During his testimony, Perryman said Simmons pushed him and he pushed his cousin back, knocking him over a chair. He says Simmons had a knife in his hand and was stabbed as the two men fought.

Amy P. Kempe, spokeswoman for Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin, said authorities do not believe Perryman acted in self-defense according to the law, but respect the jury's decision.

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