CARMEL, N.Y. — A jury has acquitted a man in his third trial in the rape and murder of a 12-year-old New York girl more than two decades ago.

The Journal News reports ( ) 40-year-old Anthony DiPippo walked out of Putnam County Court a free man Tuesday after the not guilty verdict was delivered.

Prosecutors say they’re disappointed in the jury’s decision but they respect the verdict.

Josette Wright vanished in 1994. Her remains were found more than a year later in a wooded area in Patterson, 60 miles north of New York City.

DiPippo was convicted of murdering and raping the girl in two separate trials. Both convictions were overturned. DiPippo has spent almost all of his adult life in custody since his arrest in 1996.

Information from: The Journal News,