A former Vancouver Island city councillor and his two sons have been found not guilty of second-degree murder in connection with the 2008 beating death of Colwood resident Keith Taylor.

Ex-Highlands councillor Ken Brotherston, along with his two adult sons -- Ken Jr. and Gregory -- were cleared of charges by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Janice Dillon Friday.

The trio was arrested in June 2008 after the badly injured body of Keith Taylor was found dumped in a parking lot of the West Shore RCMP detachment.

During the trial, the Crown said that Taylor was beaten at a home where cocaine was being. Lawyers said Taylor, himself a crack-addict and drug dealer, was trying to extort $100,000 from the Brotherston family.

Defence lawyer Steven Kelliher successfully argued Ken Brotherston Sr. was acting in self-defense against Taylor, who had a knife and gun during a fight.

Well known and respected

Until he was charged, Brotherston Sr. was a sitting councillor in the municipality of Highlands, a suburb of Victoria.

His arrest shook up the city council.

Former Highlands Mayor Mark Cardinal called the case a very "upsetting and unfortunate situation."

Taylor was charged with assault in 2007 in relation to an incident with one of Brotherston's sons, but the charge was stayed.