By Gary Lloyd
BIRMINGHAM — Exactly one year ago today, The Basement founder and youth evangelist Matt Pitt tweeted this: “God is in the business of turning your setbacks into comebacks! With God, you can do anything!”
He has now come back from a setback.
Pitt said he was “in a state of shock” when he was found not guilty of impersonating a peace officer Thursday morning.
A jury of seven women and five men reached their verdict Thursday at 9:19 a.m. The verdict was read at 9:32 a.m.
“It has been the craziest couple years of my life,” Pitt said. “I’ve just been waiting for this day.”
The jury began deliberating at 3:32 p.m. Wednesday and were released the same day at 4:30 p.m. The trial began Monday.
When the jury got the case Wednesday, Pitt turned to family and friends and said, “Now it’s time to pray.”
During closing arguments, prosecutor Shawn Allen said the case centers on Pitt acting “above the law.”
“He felt like he was above the law,” Allen told jurors.
Fellow prosecutor William McComb said he’s often thought about what it would be like if the rules didn’t apply to him. But they do, to everybody, he said.
“Everybody is accountable for what they do,” he told jurors during closing arguments.
Defense attorney Carmella Penn’s closing argument focused on June 15, 2013, the day Pitt allegedly showed two men in the Grayson Valley woods a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office honorary deputy badge. She said the testimony of Brandon Vessels contained a lot of “inconsistencies.”
Penn said Pitt and his cousin, Bailey Little, were there to pick up two four-wheelers and a BB gun they left there the night before. She argued that Vessels kept them there with aggressive questioning.
“He didn’t need permission to leave from Brandon Vessels,” Penn said.
Shortly after the verdict was read, Pitt’s father, Larry, joked with family and friends.
“Told y’all,” he said. “Knew it all the time.”
Read the full story in the April 29, 2015 issue of The Trussville Tribune.
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.