A New York City bar owner has been found not guilty of fatally shooting two friends who were found dead inside their SUV on a northern New Jersey street nearly three years ago.

Nicholas Kiriakakis (Bergen County Prosecutor's Office)

Nicholas D. Kiriakakis of Richmond Hills was acquitted on two counts of murder in connection with the 2010 deaths of 28-year-old Jonathan Beneduce of Howard Beach and 27-year-old Michael Mirasola of Ozone Park.

The Record newspaper reports that a jury found Kiriakakis guilty of the much lesser charges of conspiracy to distribute drugs and hindering apprehension.

Kiriakakis' trial was in state Superior Court in Hackensack. The verdict was announced Thursday.

A Teaneck resident discovered the victims' bullet-riddled bodies in February 2010.

Kiriakakis will remain free on $2 million bail until his Jan. 25 sentencing.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press