FIRST ON 3: Tonya Craft juror speaks out - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports


FIRST ON 3: Tonya Craft juror speaks out

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Thousands of Tennessee Valley residents were glued to their sets on May 11, 2010 when Tonya Craft was acquitted on 22 counts of child molestation. The lengthy trial proved divisive among friends, and even family members of the former kindergarten teacher.  

With the recent release of Craft's book, "Accused," Crime Watch Daily reached out to jurors.  One of them, Luther Lawson, has a lot to say.  

"I talked to the other people and said I didn't see anything where she was guilty of anything," Lawson said.

Lawson, who became emotional at times, said he felt prosecutors were trying to drag something out of the children who were on the stand.  Testimony from Craft's own daughter seemed only to reinforce his opinion of Craft's innocence.

Lawson said, "That interview with Tonya's kid when she broke down, and she told them that all she did was put medicine on my bottom, I've done that to my grandkid."

Lawson was also impressed with Craft's own testimony. He said, "When she got on the stand...she seemed like she was a pretty honest person," he said.  

Lawson said the jury requested clarification on several issues, but those requests were denied.  He said they had to work with the evidence they were given, which in his words, wasn't much.  He added that when it came time to reach a verdict, it wasn't instantly unanimous.

He said, "It was after lunch on Tuesday,  and we went down the line and the one girl that thought that something might've went on, well rather than having the kids go through this again, she said she would go along with everybody else because we were the majority. After that we just basically went down the line and checked off everything, there were 22 charges."

Five years later, Lawson is confident the jury made the right call, and that Tonya Craft, by writing her book, and pursuing a career in law, has fulfilled his expectations,  "that she could do some good. And I knew she would. I really thought she would."

You can watch the entire interview Tuesday at 3:00 on Channel 3.


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