Editor's note: Attorney Lee Davis represented Kevin Chitty at trial. Our normal 200-word limit on letters to the editor has been waived in this instance.
(Columnist) David Cook makes a basic mistake when he writes that last weeks verdict was "one of the most disturbing legal cases of the year" and goes on to castigate the judgement of the jury. His mistake is that he chooses to replace the considered judgement of 12 jurors at trial (presided over by a neutral and detached judge) with his own.
The jurors in the case heard from about a dozen witnesses, examined 85 exhibits of evidence, heard four separate 911 calls, and viewed a crime scene video of the scene. They dedicated a week of their lives in service to the greater good of our community and dispensed their verdict without prejudice against Mr. (Jerry) Martin or bias in favor of Mr. (Kevin) Chitty.
In fact, they are still serving as jurors in other cases this week. What efforts did Mr. Cook extend to learn the facts of this case? I don't recall seeing him in court last week. It is easy to criticize the judgment of a jury. Or, in this case, both the jury and Mr. Chitty. It is harder to offer a solution.
How does Mr. Cook know what Mr. Martin pointed at Mr. Chitty? It looked real enough to Mr. Chitty and other witnesses to terrify them. And, while Mr. Chitty didn't know it then, we all learned at trial, Mr. Martin had previously shot an innocent young woman in a car -- whom he did not know -- after he had been drinking.
It is easy to question Mr. Chitty's judgment from the safety of a computer screen, but are you sure of the absolute correctness of your view had it been your child that was closest to Mr. Martin when he pointed your way at midnight with what appeared to be a gun in his hand?
Just call the police is Cook's offered solution or leave. That is hard to do after a wreck caused by a 6'2", 250-pound man who is menacing you and your family. That is what the proof showed.
Trials come down to facts and credibility of witnesses. This jury listed to all the facts, assessed the credibility of all the witnesses and applied the law. It is a tragic case to be sure, but the jury's verdict should not be criticized simply because Mr. Cook has a different view. Had Mr. Chitty not acted as he did, how can Mr. Cook assure Mr. Chitty that he wouldn't have ended up going to his son's funeral or his grandson's, if not his own.
LEE DAVIS, Davis & Hoss, PC