A 17-year-old Southeast Washington youth accused of killing another teenager last year was acquitted Friday in D.C. Superior Court.

Cortez McCoy denied having any role in the slaying of Timothy Hamilton, 15, who was shot April 25, 2004, in the 1800 block of Trenton Place SE. Prosecutors said the early morning shooting stemmed from shots fired hours earlier during a confrontation between rival gang members who attended the same party.

McCoy, a ninth-grader who was 16 when the shooting occurred, was charged as an adult. Since his arrest, McCoy had said he was at a party in Maryland at the time of the shooting. That alibi, corroborated by several people, was the crux of the case presented by the lead defense attorney, Santha Sonenberg of the D.C. Public Defender Service.

The jury returned its verdict after less than five hours of deliberations.

In an interview Friday, one juror said the panel did not necessarily believe the alibi. Ultimately, he said, jurors found too many holes in the government's case to return a conviction.

"The problem was, we thought the prosecutor's case was inherently weak," said the juror, a 48-year-old scientist. "There was too much reasonable doubt."

In particular, he said, he and other jurors questioned the testimony and the sometimes contradictory statements given by the one alleged eyewitness.

Timothy Hamilton, who was a freshman at Ballou Senior High School, was among 24 juveniles slain in the city last year.