Explaining its deadlock, the jury delivered this statement to Corso: "The jury is in hopeless disagreement on her self defense. It does not appear likely we will ever reach a unanimous decision on this point."
After the verdict, Williamson clutched her baby daughter and hurried out of the courthouse, shrugging off questions.
The District Attorney's Office must now decide whether to seek a new trial on the remaining charges. If convicted of those, the 27-year-old Cheltenham woman could still face 11 1/2 to 23 years in prison.
"We're back to the same question, whether you can shoot someone for throwing eggs," Assistant District Attorney Edmund J. Campbell Jr. said after the verdict. Campbell said a decision on a new trial would be made this week.
Throughout the trial, Campbell argued that Williamson stood on her Lynnewood Gardens porch on April 12, deliberately drew her cheap .38 pistol and, from about 100 feet away, fired at Hayes in a malicious rage.
That evening, Hayes, who was a popular Northeast High School senior, and three friends had embarked on an egg-throwing spree from Conshohocken to Cheltenham, along the way pelting unsuspecting people. In Lynnewood Gardens, a Cheltenham neighborhood bordering Philadelphia, the carload of boys hurled eggs at Williamson as she sat alone outside.
They reloaded and returned, cutting their car lights as Hayes got out of the car, egg in hand.
"That woman was angry when she saw them again," Campbell told the jurors in his closing arguments. "Anjanette Williamson acted out of hatred and she murdered that boy."
Defense attorney James E. Colleran Jr. did not dispute that Williamson had fired the shot that killed Hayes. He called the shooting tragic but vigorously argued that Williamson acted out of intense fear, not intending harm. He described his client as a churchgoing woman who prayed for the Hayes family, who was deeply remorseful and was unaware those outside her home were ''just high school students."
He told the jury of eight women and four men to envision themselves on Williamson's porch that April night. "Do you want to live in a world where thugs run around making innocent people prisoners in their own homes?" Colleran asked.
''This mess, this tragedy fell out of the sky on top of her."
During her testimony, Williamson shielded her face when her gun was presented as evidence. She said she didn't ever want to own a weapon again. ''For the rest of my life I got to deal with this," Williamson told the jury.
Besides acquitting her of third-degree murder, the jury also pronounced Williamson not guilty of voluntary manslaughter.
Colleran said he was pleased with the verdict and would file to have the remaining charges dropped.
For six days, Desmon Hayes' family congregated in the small courtroom, praying for their son's killer to be punished. Shortly before noon yesterday, in a dimly lit courthouse hallway, Ernestine and Timothy Hayes clasped hands with their family and recited a final prayer.
As she held a small, white Bible, Ernestine Hayes' eyes were red and streaked. "This is the day," she said to a family member.
The Hayeses immediately left the courthouse after the verdict.
"Let's just get out of here," a weary Timothy Hayes told his family.