Jury Finds Man Not Guilty Who Fired Shot That Left Jerry Martin A Quadriplegic

Friday, October 11, 2013 - by Hollie Webb

A Criminal Court jury on Friday afternoon returned two not guilty verdicts in the case of a shooting that left a Chattanooga man a quadriplegic.

The jury found Kevin Chitty innocent of charges of attempted second-degree murder and aggravated assault. The jury foreman's voice broke as he read the verdicts in the highly-emotional case.

The victim, Jerry Martin, had been wheeled into the courtroom on a bed attached to his ventilator to testify the previous day. 

Judge Don Poole asked both sides not to have an outburst after the announcement of the verdicts in what he called a "tragic, tragic situation."

But there was plenty of emotion outside as the victim's grandmother ran up to Chitty family members and shouted, "He's guilty."

The victim's mother said, "It's not over. That's all I've got to say." She said also, "We have no life. We take care of our son 24 hours a day. It is very hard for me to see my son like this. He does not deserve this."

The mother also said of Chitty, "I'm going to ask God to forgive him for what he done."

The Chittys spoke briefly, while they were flanked by their attorneys, Lee Davis and Bryan Hoss. Chitty said he was "thankful to have my life back after two years."

Attorney Davis said afterward, "Kevin Chitty, Gloria Chitty and the entire Chitty family thank this jury for their dedication and service over this past week in an emotional and tragic case. By their verdict, the jury has spoken. Kevin Chitty is not guilty."

When the families of both men started to arrive in the courtroom on Thursday for the Martin testimony, Judge Poole had the Chitty family sit on the right and the Martin family on the left to avoid any confrontation.

Martin gave his account first, and his perspective of the Thanksgiving incident was very different from the defendant's. Prosecutor Cameron Williams questioned him and went through Martin's past criminal record. Martin had previously been charged with aggravated assault for shooting a woman and with reckless endangerment for shooting at a woman but not hitting her.

Martin said that when he hit Chitty's truck at Jersey Pike and Bonny Oaks Drive, he had had a few beers but was not drunk. He acknowledged that he did not have insurance and had been driving without a license. 

He said that after hitting Chitty's truck, he walked outside his car. He said Chitty got out of the truck angry and holding a gun. Martin said, “I saw the gun so I backed up in my car and fled.” Not long after he started to drive away, he said, “I went numb. I ran into a tree and dumpster. That's how I stopped.”

When prosecutor Williams asked Martin about his injuries, he responded, “Look at me. I'm paralyzed for life...I've still got the bullets in me.” When asked about his quality of life since the shooting, he said, “I can't feed myself, I have to be fed.” Martin has three children, and he pointed out that he can no longer play with them.

Next, Martin was cross-examined by defense attorney Lee Davis. Mr. Martin responded aggressively to Attorney Davis' questions about his prior charges, demanding, “What that got to do with this man shooting me?” and later, “Why do you keep asking me the same questions, man?”

Martin continued to say that he and Chitty had had an argument and that Chitty “had all intentions to shoot me.” He also said that he never had a gun with him. Attorney Davis pointed out that if Mr. Martin knew he was driving illegally, then he would have known that he would have been arrested if he had stayed at the scene and waited for police. Martin denied fleeing because of this and accused Attorney Davis of trying to twist the facts. He declared, “That man shot me for nothing, that's what happened.”

When 45-year-old Kevin Chitty took the stand, the jury heard a much different story. Chitty maintains that he only shot in self-defense and was trying to protect his family. He said “(Martin) drove up beside me and pointed the gun at me.”

He also maintained that he never had an argument with Martin. He said that Martin stayed in the car, and that he did not pull his gun out of his pocket until Martin pointed a gun. No gun was found in Martin's Oldsmobile, but Jalen and Nicholas Chitty both testified that they saw Martin pointing something. However, this all took place at night.

Chitty said, “I was afraid I was going to get shot. My wife, my kids, my whole family was out there.”

Prosecutor Williams asked Chitty if he was angry after the wreck, but Chitty claimed he was not. He said that he had been rear-ended before and that he had insurance, so he was not worried about the car. Chitty said that he was not startled until Martin backed up and started driving in his direction. The prosecutor continued to question Chitty on whether he actually saw a gun or if he only thought he saw a gun. 

The 911 recording was played. At the first of the tape, Chitty said that a man had pulled a gun on him, but later in the tape he said he thought a man pulled a gun on him.

Chitty then testified that he saw a gun. Prosecutor Williams asked him, “Your intention was to survive. How would firing the gun accomplish this?” Chitty said he thought that a man was about to kill him or someone in his family. Upon hearing the 911 tape, Chitty started to become emotional.

Chitty, who is charged with attempted second-degree murder and aggravated assault, was the last person to testify, then the case went to the jury after closing arguments. 

The jury deliberated an hour and a half, then stopped for the night. The panel resume its talks on Friday at 9 a.m. and delivered the verdicts shortly before 1 p.m.


Senators And Representatives Respond To The Presidential Inauguration

Area senators and representatives respond to Friday's inauguration of President Donald J. Trump.  U.S. Senator Bob Corker said, "It was an honor to attend the inauguration today and witness President Trump take the oath of office.  I look forward to the opportunity before us and am committed to working with the Trump administration and my colleagues in Congress to address ... (click for more)

Perdue Previews President Trump’s 1st 100 Days

Senator David Perdue (R-GA) previewed President Donald J. Trump’s first 100 days on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” this morning. Job One Is Getting Economy Going:  “Job one is getting the economy going again and getting people back to work. You'll see all this work on Obamacare first. Then there will be the tax package that will follow that. Following both of those will be the ... (click for more)

Bakewell Mountain Community Thanks Commissioner Fairbanks

The residents of Bakewell Mountain want to formally thank Commissioner Randy Fairbanks for standing up for our community in protecting our property rights and families. He personally made several trips to our properties and homes to see how the proposed gun range would affect our daily lives with noise, traffic, and a decrease in property values. Sometimes the little guys need ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Just One Year Later…

If I hadn’t actually seen it happen, I would never have believed it. Not only did I wonder if it could ever happen, more often than not my disgust and dismay of such rampant disorder has filled me with more gloom and doom than you’ll find in a liberal Democrat on this, Donald Trump’s Inauguration Day. But I have got to proclaim that Thursday night I have never been as proud of the ... (click for more)

Vols Promote Scott To OC; Canales New QB Coach

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. --  University of Tennessee football head coach  Butch Jones  announced today the promotion of  Larry Scott  to offensive coordinator. Additionally, Mike Canales has agreed to terms to become the quarterbacks coach and defensive backs coach  Charlton Warren  was given additional duties as special teams coordinator. ... (click for more)

Cleveland Wrestlers Whip Walker Valley, 60-12

The undefeated and top-ranked Cleveland Blue Raider wrestling team just keeps rolling along, winning the close ones and also winning the ones not so close. Thursday night at Walker Valley, the Blue Raiders recorded five pins, three technical falls and two forfeits in a 60-12 victory over the Mustangs. Those pins came from Bryce Pond, Colton Landers, Austin Sweeney, Dylan Jones ... (click for more)