A Chattanooga man accused of attacking another man on Elena Drive with a machete was found guilty of assault after a bench trial held by Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern.
Stanley Featherstone testified that he was acting in self-defense. He said he was leaving his home to go help his brother with yard work when had trouble getting out of his neighborhood because there were people drinking and standing around in the street.
Featherstone said when he asked them to move, several men started cursing at him and called him names.
He said after a short time at his brother's, he had to return to his home to get some tools. When he got back to his neighborhood, he faced the same problem again. He also found out that his wife and daughter had similar troubles getting through.
This time, on his way back to his brother's home, he decided to get out of his truck. He said he heard a man say, "I got this" and saw him walk in his direction with one hand behind his back.
He said, "I'm fearing for my life, I don't know what he's got with him." At this point, he said he grabbed a knife he normally used to cut shrubs out of the back of his truck.
He said, "I grabbed the machete thinking I needed some kind of protection," saying the other man's actions appeared "threatening."
When the man kept coming, Featherstone said he hit him with the knife. Featherstone's defense attorney said the man's wound was only four millimeters long.
His attorney said, "He is a citizen living in this neighborhood who has every right not to be accosted by people he's driving by." He said Featherstone acted reasonably considering the circumstances.
However, Prosecutor Amanda Morrison pointed out that he could have simply stayed in his vehicle and driven off. She said, "I don't find getting a machete out to be a reasonable response to someone walking down the driveway toward you."
Featherstone is scheduled to be sentenced on April 29.