Billy Joe Shaver Found Not Guilty of Aggravated Assault
Not guilty. That was the verdict handed down Friday (April 9) in the trial of singer/songwriter Billy Joe Shaver. After just a two hour deliberation, the jury acquitted him of any wrongdoing in the case of a shooting outside a Texas bar in 2007.
According to the Stateman newspaper, Billy Coker, the man shot by the singer, looked stunned after state District Judge Matt Johnson read the verdict. Coker said he was disappointed with the outcome but would respect the justice system's decision.
Shaver, who admits to the shooting but insists it was an act of self-defense, hugged supporters outside the courtroom. Fellow country legend Willie Nelson spent the final two days of the trial watching from the courtroom gallery, as did actor Robert Duvall, both of whom were there to support their friend.
The shooting happened on March 31, 2007, outside Papa Joe's Saloon in Lorena, Texas. The singer shot Coker in the face after an altercation. Shaver, who has a concealed handgun permit, turned himself in to authorities in April 2007 after an arrest warrant was issued. He was later released after posting a $50,000 bond.
"I knew in my heart we would win," he said smiling outside the courthouse Friday evening. "I am very sorry about the incident. Hopefully things will work out where [Coker and I] become friends."