HILLSBORO, MO. (KTVI) – A mother accused of beating a heroin dealer with a baseball bat to protect her own son learned her fate Tuesday night.
She was on trial for assault in Jefferson County, Missouri.
Jurors reached a verdict around 8:15 p.m., after two hours of deliberations. Jurors had tears in their eyes as they turned in the verdict. Nonetheless, they turned in a verdict of guilty.
Sherrie Gavan, 54, of Imperial, wept in her husband’s arms after hearing the verdict.
She faces up to a year in jail but in all likelihood will get probation; the jury convicting her of 3rd degree misdemeanor assault.
“I was shocked (by the guilty verdict),” she said.
Gavan admits that in December of 2011, she hit Josh Loyd with a baseball bat. Loyd was a high school classmate of her son Clayton.
She said she did it because Loyd was helping supply her son with heroin, hounding him to continue using, even after Clayton came clean.
Her attorney argued “self-defense”, saying Sherrie Gavan feared Loyd was coming at her with a piece of a brick when she went to his house to tell him to leave her son alone.
She said Loyd, who has since had multiple convictions for heroin and theft, hasn’t bothered her son again.
Gavan says she wouldn’t change anything, “I think that’s what any parent that knew what this drug did to their child, would do. It’s like my husband said, there’s two ways out: you stop or you die. I did not want to bury my son. I could not bury my son."
“This jury pool was absolutely consumed with heroin issues,” her attorney, William Goldstein said. “Many of their family members, friends, had either died or gone to prison. I think what Sherrie did for this community was to shed some light on this problem. And it is a big problem.”
“My son is alive. That’s all that matters right now,” Sherrie Gavan said.
Alive and thriving; graduating high school with straight "A"s his parents said. He aced his ACT college entrance exam and is looking at colleges after being clean for a year and a half.
The prosecutor argued this was not about heroin but accountability, that you can’t dispense justice on your own with a baseball bat. He said he was pleased with the verdict but otherwise wouldn’t comment.