By Gary Lloyd
COLUMBIANA — The attorney for The Basement founder and evangelist Matt Pitt on Wednesday filed a Rule 32 petition in Shelby County Circuit Court attacking the revocation of Pitt’s probation in October.
Attorney Brian Ritchey said a Rule 32 petition is a post-conviction petition attacking the conviction or sentence.
“Our position is that new facts have come to light that put into question the truthfulness of the state’s primary witness to the Jefferson County incident,” Ritchey said. “The testimony of Brandon Vessels is being attacked in our motion. Another witness to the event, Brad Lunsford, has provided an affidavit that Mr. Vessels did not testify correctly and may have had a motive to try to discredit Matt. His affidavit is bolstered by one of Matt’s witnesses. Basically, we are stating that the state relied on one witness and that the other two (plus Matt) disagree with him. Thus, we want another hearing or for Matt to be released.”
According to Ritchey’s filing, Lunsford’s testimony “directly contradicts the State’s main witness. Mr. Vessels claimed that Mr. Pitt was the aggressor and convinced him that he was a police officer. Mr. Lunsford testifies that Mr. Pitt never acted in that capacity and he knew that Mr. Pitt was not a police officer.”
In a Jefferson County District Court affidavit signed by Lunsford on March 15, Lunsford states that when Pitt and his cousin Bailey Little approached, Vessels, who had a handgun on his hip, “became aggressive and interrogated both Pitt and his cousin in an intimidating way.”
“There was no time when I believed Matt Pitt was a police officer,” Lunsford states in the affidavit. “At no point did he act in a way to make me think he was a police officer.”
Little, in a signed March 19 affidavit, states that, “Mr. Vessels said ‘Matt Pitt! You’re Matt Pitt? Oh I know who you are! I know what you do!’ in a mad voice. From this point Mr. Vessels’ whole attitude changed and he began talking to us in a very aggressive manner.”
Pitt in September 2012 pleaded guilty to impersonating a peace officer. In August 2013, Pitt was charged with the same offense in Jefferson County relating to a June 2013 incident in Grayson Valley.
The Jefferson County case is currently awaiting a possible grand jury indictment.
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.