Sunday, April 11, 2010
– Billy Joe Shaver was found not guilty Friday in the shooting of a man outside a bar in Texas in 2007.
A jury reached a verdict after two hours of deliberation in the case involving Shaver and the man he allegedly shot, Billy Coker.
After the verdict was read, Shaver hugged supports, including band members. During the trial, Willie Nelson showed up for the last two days of testimony of the four-day trial. Nelson left before the verdict was read.
"I knew in my heart we would win," Shaver said outside the courthouse. As for Coker, 53, Shaver, 70, said, "I am very sorry about the incident. Hopefully things will work out where we become friends."
Shaver testified in his own defense saying he feared for his life when he shot Coker in the upper lip in the patio of a bar in Lorena with a 22-caliber pistol. Shaver said Coker showed a knife inside the bar and asked him to go outside. "I wanted to scare him ... wanted to beat him to the punch. I feared he was going to kill me," Shaver said.
The prosecutor asked Shaver if he was jealous because Coker was talking with his wife, Wanda. "I get more women than a passenger train can haul. I'm not jealous," Shaver said.
A witness, Daniel Silvas, said he thought Shaver was trying to "get away" before shooting.
"I couldn't fight him, no way, he was built like a doggone fireplug. He's younger than I was," Shaver said.
Shaver said that when Coker realized Wanda Shaver had been married to Coker's cousin, "he went bad real quick." The ex-husband committed suicide. Bad feelings existed between Wanda Shaver and Coker's side of the family.