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Convicted murderer Ricardo "Ricky" Maisonet was acquitted Tuesday of raping a Buffalo girl last Oct. 21.

A jury deliberated four hours before finding Maisonet, 35, innocent of a single count of first-degree rape in the attack, alleged to have occurred at the foot of Tifft Street last Oct. 21. "Yes!" Maisonet shouted as the verdict was announced at about 4:15 p.m. As he was being led back to jail, his wife, Darlene Stokes Maisonet, 51, cried and said she was "relieved" at the acquittal verdict.

Maisonet was convicted of first-degree murder last month in the slaying of a friend, Alma Rose Gonzalez, in front of the victim's young nephew in her Vermont Street flat last Dec. 2. He faces a mandatory life term and possibly life without parole when he is sentenced Oct. 31.

Friday, Maisonet and his wife, one of his former guards when he was an inmate at Attica Correctional Facility on robbery charges, both testified he was having an affair last year with the alleged victim, 18.

The victim denied having an affair with Maisonet and said that he picked her up and drove her to "Ghetto Beach" off Tifft Street, raping her early in the evening, then drove her back home.

DNA samples taken hours after the alleged attack last Oct. 21 linked Maisonet to the incident. Maisonet, however, said the woman had sex with him voluntarily three days before he was accused of raping her.

Maisonet was paroled in 1995 after serving 15 years for the robberies.

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