Man found not guilty of murder after 2009 shootout
VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -
A man on trial for a wild and deadly shootout at a Valdosta housing project was found not guilty of murder Tuesday afternoon.
19-year old Sidney Bivins was killed and ten people were wounded at Hudson Dockett November 15, 2009.
Prosecutors say Bernard Sanders intended to kill.
26-year old Bernard Sanders Junior looked relieved in a Lowndes County courtroom after a juror read the not guilty verdict for the shooting and killing Sidney Bivins. His sister says she knew all along he didn't murder Bivins.
"It's a great feeling," said Kimika Hunter. "God is good. God is good. I told him from the beginning it was going to be for the glory of good."
His teary eyed mom said Sanders was at the wrong place at the wrong time. The defense attorney said Sanders was at Hudson Dockett visiting his daughter on that Sunday. Fights broke out. The defense said Sanders fired shots in self-defense to protect himself and his daughter. Sanders was also wounded. Sanders was however convicted of aggravated assault and possession of firearm for shooting Bivins' brother Tevan.
"The murder charge was thrown out," said Hunter. "That's the big thing but we've already knew it wasn't going to stand from the beginning. God told us that."
Prosceutors argued Sanders intended to kill and should be convicted of malice murder. They say Sanders changed his story a few times.
No guns were recovered. Police did recover shellcasings. Investigators say the case was difficult because they didn't get a lot of cooperation from witnesses.
Bernard Sanders will be sentenced on the aggravated assault and firearm possession convictions on May 26th.
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