Published: Saturday, September 8, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.

An Alachua County judge signed an order Friday to release a Newberry man who has been in jail since July in connection with the death of his brother.

Judge Martha Ann Lott ruled that "there is no probable cause to hold Michael Arrington on the charge of murder or attempted murder," according to the order.

Arrington, 41, was arrested on charges of second-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder after being accused of shooting his brother, Carl Arrington, 35, and trying to kill his sister-in-law, Shelley Arrington, at the couple's home on July 10.

Lott ruled, however, that prosecutors do not have sufficient evidence to hold Arrington on those charges. But her order did specify that Arrington must appear "at all future court proceedings in this case."

"One of the things that keeps all of us free is that there is an independent judiciary that gets to review facts without any bias and without taking sides and call it as the court sees it," said Arrington's defense attorney, Robert Rush.

Late Friday afternoon, Rush said he hoped Arrington would be freed sometime Friday night.

Rush said he is pleased that the judge agreed with his argument that prosecutors had not gathered enough evidence against Arrington to charge him.

"I think it's a much better practice to gather evidence and then arrest somebody rather than arrest somebody and then gather evidence," Rush said.

"The real concern is that as long as they stay focused on (Arrington), they're not looking at anyone else," Rush continued. "Our real concern is there is a murderer out there."

But Spencer Mann, spokesman for the State Attorney's Office, stood by the charges leveled by his office, saying charges would not have been filed if his office did not believe Arrington committed the crime.

He said the State Attorney's Office will continue to pursue the charges against Arrington.

"We respectfully disagree with the judge's position," he said. "We believe probable cause does exist. We believe there is evidence to back that up, and we will continue to weigh our legal options. The charges remain intact."

Among the defense's arguments that evidence in the case was insufficient was the fact that tests to determine whether Arrington had gun residue on his hands came back negative.

Rush also said Arrington's disabled condition due to a spinal injury would have prevented him from carrying out the murder.

Prosecutors, however, presented testimony from a jail officer who said he overhead Arrington say he killed his brother, as well as a description of the events that occurred on July 10 from Shelley Arrington that they believe link the defendant to the crime.

Alice Wallace can be reached at 352-338-3109 or alice.wallace@gvillesun.com.