RINGGOLD, Ga. — Tonya Craft has been found not guilty on all 22 counts of child molestation, aggravated child molestation and aggravated sexual battery.
The jury returned the verdict after a day of deliberation.
Ms. Craft, a 37-year-old former kindergarten teacher in Chickamauga, was charged with child molestation based on the accounts of three alleged victims.
During the four-week trial, however, the little girls’ stories were called into question during cross-examination by the defense team.
At times the trial became contentious, with the defense using elaborate timelines on posterboards to poke holes in the case and the prosecution accusing the defense of playing to the media.
Some of the families and friends of the alleged victims waited in a room set aside for them in the courthouse.
See tomorrow’s Times Free Press for complete coverage.
Tonya Craft acquittedStaff photo by Patrick Smith/Chattanooga Times Free Press Tonya Craft, center, holds her husband, David's, hand while surrounded by her attorneys Tuesday as they enter the Catoosa County Court House to hear the verdict. Mrs. Craft was found not guilty on all 22 counts of child molestation.
Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...