A Salt Lake man who shot his friend with a handgun in February has been acquitted of any wrongdoing.

Randy Eugene Velasquez was charged with negligent homicide in the death of 25-year-old David James Lane. But on Friday a jury found him not guilty after a three-day trial in 3rd Circuit Court."I'm really happy," said Velasquez, 25. "I've been stressed out for a long time - especially the last three days."

Lane died Feb. 28 in his friend's Salt Lake City home after getting Velasquez's 9mm semiautomatic pistol from a bedroom and "tinkering" with it.

"I said, `Hey, don't mess around with my gun," Velasquez testified. But Lane, who was in the military, insisted he was familiar with guns and there was "nothing to worry about," Velasquez said.

Velasquez asked for the gun, which went off moments after Lane handed it to him. A bullet struck Lane in the face.

Velasquez told a 911 dispatcher and police that Lane had shot himself. But he later admitted he was holding the gun after forensic tests showed Lane could not have shot himself.

Deputy Salt Lake County Attorney Dane Nolan said Velasquez was negligent for not checking the gun as soon as he took it from Lane and for pointing it at the victim.

But defense attorney Kendall Peterson said Lane caused his own death by handling Velasquez's gun.

"Mr. Velasquez did what we would probably do in the same situation," Peterson told the jury. "He said, `Don't play with my gun, give it to me.' He took the gun, and it went off."

The defendant initially pleaded guilty to the charge, saying he did not want to put the victim's family, or himself, through the trauma of a trial. But he withdrew the plea after evaluators recommended he spend 90 days in jail.