Both families give strong reactions to 2011 Thanksgiving Day sho - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Both families give strong reactions to 2011 Thanksgiving Day shooting

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

The Chattanooga man accused in a shooting that left another man paralyzed for life is found not guilty. Kevin Chitty was charged with attempted second degree murder and aggravated assault in a 2011 Thanksgiving shooting. Chitty shot Jerry Martin after he rear-ended his pick up truck and tried to leave the scene of the accident. It was an emotional day in court for both families involved.

"We the jury find the defendant, Kevin Levon Chitty, not guilty," the jury foreman read aloud in Hamilton County criminal court, Friday.

Kevin Chitty's wife raised her hands toward the sky when the jury gave its decision. Chitty gave his attorneys a hug.

"I just want to thank the jury for the outcome. Thank you. It's over," said Chitty.

Chitty and his attorneys say Chitty was only defending his family the night of the 2011 Thanksgiving shooting that left Jerry Martin paralyzed from the neck down. Chitty stuck to his story in court that Martin pulled a gun on him first.

When asked what the verdict means to him, Chitty answered, "Everything. Because my life is back. It's been two years. I just thank the jury for giving me my life back."

"Any time you're forced to use deadly force to defend yourself like Mr. Chitty was, it's tragic for what happened to Mr. Martin. It's terrible, the stress that's been put on this family," said Lee Davis, Chitty's attorney.

It was not the outcome Jerry Martin's family wanted.

"He has no life," said his mother, Jean Martin. "I take care of him 24 hours a day. And it is very hard for me to see my son in this situation."

Martin testified in court after he crashed into Chitty's truck, Chitty was yelling and cursing at him and pulled out his gun and that is the only reason he fled. Both he and his mother say his criminal history and the fact that he was driving on a revoked license should not matter.

"I can't justify what my son has done in the past. But that don't have nothing to do with what Chitty did," said Jean Martin.

Despite the verdict, she says she forgives Chitty.

"I'm going to ask God to forgive him for what he done."

Chitty's attorneys say his decision to take the stand in his own defense played a big role in the outcome of the case.

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