Jett McBride found not guilty of attempted murder
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The man who gave "Kai the hitchhiker" a ride, and then hit a PG&E worker with his car, has been cleared of the most serious charge against him.
After a month long trial it took the jury just a few hours to reach a verdict in the case against Jett McBride.
"We the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant Jett Simmons McBride not guilty of penal code section 664, slash 187 subdivision a, attempted murder as charged in count 1," a juror said.
McBride was charged with attempted murder for running his car into PG&E worker Rayshawn Neely on February 1 of 2013. Neely's leg was mangled when McBride's car pinned him to his truck. Another worker was less seriously hurt.
The incident gained national attention because McBride's passenger was Caleb McGivellry, also known as Kai the hitchhiker, who attacked McBride with a hatchet after McBride got out of his car and appeared to be attacking the injured man and other bystanders.
Because he's in jail facing murder charges in New Jersey, McGillvery was not allowed to come back to Fresno to testify. The jury had to rely on a reading of his previous statements.
McBrides attorney, Scott Baly said not having a key witness in the courtroom was a factor in the trial.
"I won't say whether it hurt or helped, it affected everything," Baly said.
The jury cleared McBride of attempted murder. But they did find him guilty of assault with a deadly weapon, on both Neely and the other worker, and found him guilty of enhancements. Baly hopped for an acquittal on all charges.
"I think there's mixed emotions for all of us. I mean certainly I think the moment not guilty on count one was read there was relief, it was followed shortly by a guilty reading on count two and county three so there's a different feeling on those charges," Baly said.
Assault with a deadly weapon could mean four years in prison on each count. The enhancements, for using a car as a weapon and causing serious injury could add more years. It all depends on the judge, but Baly estimates the maximum McBride could face is 9 years.
But the trial isn't over. The jury has to come back and decide if McBride was insane at the time of the incident. If they decide he was, he could be sentenced to a mental hospital, not prison.
fresno, fresno county, court, local, gene haagenson
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