One day after pleading guilty to manslaughter, Noel Francis walked out of a Kitchener courtroom without having to spend any further time in custody.

The judge on his case had agreed to sentence him to time already served, as was recommended by both Francis’ lawyer and the Crown.

Francis had been in custody ever since April 2015, when he was arrested for first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of Devane Campbell.

Campbell was killed on Nov. 30, 2012, when masked men burst into his girlfriend’s townhouse on Elm Ridge Drive in Kitchener.

The case against Francis had reached the trial stage. A jury was selected and heard several weeks’ worth of testimony before Thursday’s surprise guilty plea.

During the trial, jurors heard from various people who could corroborate that a robbery had happened, but none who could conclusively identify the intruders.

As part of Francis’ plea, he admitted to knowing there was a robbery and knowing it could get violent, but not to any direct involvement in Campbell’s death.

“I wasn’t there at the scene and I didn’t commit the offence that I was charged with,” he said outside the courthouse.

In delivering his ruling, Justice Patrick Flynn said that the Crown’s “mountains of evidence” against Francis had “crumbled” based on there being nothing to tie Francis to the scene of the crime.

“If I believed you were there with or without a gun in your hand, this sentence would have been quadrupled,” Flynn told Francis.

After being told his sentence had been served, Francis grabbed his three-year-old daughter and embraced her.

“It’s probably the most amazing feeling ever,” he said later.

 “I missed her so much. Just to be able to hold her now is so important.”

With reporting by Nicole Lampa