A Missouri woman did what almost any mother would do if she found out her son was addicted to heroin: strike the drug dealer with a baseball bat.
Sherrie Gavan said her son when from a straight-A student who loved baseball to an apathetic teenager with fiery temper.
She soon figured out the cause, Stltoday.com reported, he had become addicted to heroin, an epidemic that has been plaguing the St. Louis area for nearly five years.
Gavan, 54, told the courts on Tuesday she was desperate to do anything to get her son Clayton, 19, clean. She slept next to him at night as he shook through violent withdrawals, sent him to another school so he would be away from a bad crowd, sent him to live with relatives and even took him to work with her when all else failed.
But the jury decided she went too far when she beat the 22-year-old drug dealer who supported her son’s heroin addiction with a baseball bat on Dec. 20, 2011.
The distraught mother was found guilty Tuesday of third-degree assault after she claimed she hit him twice in the arm with the bat. Her class-A misdemeanor could cost her a $1,000 fine and land her in jail for a year.
The jury, reportedly hard to find since so many potential jurors said they were sympathetic toward Gavan, took just over two hours to convict her.
“I don’t know what happens from here,” Gavan reportedly said after the verdict. “I just know you can’t protect your child anymore.”
She will be sentenced on June 4, the St. Louis website wrote.
During the trail Joshua Loyd, 22, admitted he supplied Clayton with the drug when he drove him to another friend’s mother.
Gavan didn’t deny hitting Loyd with a burgundy-colored baseball bat outside of his home.
Her attorney, William Goldstein, contended Gavan was only acting out of love for her son.
“She did what any good mother would do,” Goldstein said. “She went down there [to Joshua’s house] for one purpose and for one purpose only: get Josh out of her life.”
But Assistant Jefferson County Prosecutor Jacob Costello reminded jurors the case isn’t about letting ones emotions get involved; it’s about the law.
“This case is not about whether Mrs. Gavan is a good parent,” he said. “You can’t take matters into your own hands like that. … She made a choice to pull out the baseball bat.”
Gavan chose to fight the charges rather than plead guilty to shine a spotlight on the epidemic that is heroin.
“I thought it was important to get the story out,” Stltoday.com quoted her.
In the end, Gavan got what she wanted. Lloyd hasn’t contacted her son since the altercation and Clayton has been clean for a year.
“My son is alive,” she said. “That’s all that matters. … I will take my life over his any day.”
Lloyd maintains he is clean now, but is facing pending charges of felony drug possession and theft.