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Stanley family stunned after not guilty verdict in Gardner stabbing case

SULLIVAN COUNTY, TN (WJHL) - Twenty two year old Huey Stanley was stabbed to death by Zachary Gardner in March 2015 in the parking lot of the Kingsport YMCA, all over an altercation on the basketball court. Gardner was found not guilty in Sullivan County court Wednesday.

"He was the type of person that would give you the shirt off his back, he would do anything for you that he could," Stanley's mother Julie York said.

But Stanley's family feels that Gardner was not reacting in self defense and that the verdict was unjust.

"There was no justice for him and that's what we are wanting," Stanley's great aunt Joanne Stanley said.

The Stanley family believes that Zachary Gardner had set out to kill.

"He ran to his house got the knife, I could see them saying self defense if he stabbed him once but he stabbed him twice, that's not self defense it's murder," York said.

Andrew Gibbons, a Sullivan County Assistant Public Defender, represented Gardner.

"Not only did Huey throw the first punch that knocked him to the ground, he ripped his shirt pulled his shirt over his head and had continued his attack and it was only after that that the knife came out," Gibbons said.

And according to Gibbons, the law was followed.

"You know in this state the law allows people to defend themselves with lethal force if they have a reasonable fear that they're going to be injured or killed," Gibbons said.

Huey's family is left confused and full of questions.

"If this is justice then we feel like we didn't get nothing, this boy got a smack on his hand," Joanne Stanley said.

Huey's daughter was born just fourteen hours after he was killed. The Stanley family hopes for further justice in this case as they continue to grieve.


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