Carlos Moz never denied he shot a man in the head, but he claimed it was to defend himself and his brother.
On Thursday, a jury agreed, finding Moz, 34, not guilty of aggravated assault.
The Hall County Superior Court jury deliberated for less than an hour before acquitting Moz of the felony charge, which carried a sentencing range of one to 20 years.
The man Moz shot, 21-year-old Nathan Tony Monson, was released from a hospital just days after sustaining a bullet wound in front of his left ear. He survived the shooting with some hearing loss but no other permanent injuries, according to Brett Willis, the assistant circuit defender who successfully defended Moz.
Willis said his client fired the shot from a legally owned 9 mm handgun on the night of Oct. 1, 2006, after his client’s older brother was severely beaten by an unruly mob of at least six
teenagers in front of California Records, a store next to the Kangaroo convenience store on Park Hill Drive.
The beating victim, Juan Moz, was injured by large chunks of asphalt hurled at him by "a group of ne’er-do-wells harassing a couple of guys who were just walking," Willis said.
The Moz brothers were walking home from a baby shower they attended at the Glen Cove apartments when they were attacked, Willis said.
The prosecution sought to show Juan Moz was confronted after he made advances on a young girl at the apartment complex, but Moz denied that allegation.
While down on the ground, Juan Moz was kicked in the face by a teenage girl who was charged and later prosecuted in juvenile court, Willis said.
During the beating, Carlos Moz, a legal permanent resident who lived across the street at the Versaille apartments, retrieved his gun, Willis said.
When he returned to the front of the store, Monson made a threatening motion toward Carlos Moz and made the statement that he was "looking for who was next," according to Willis. Monson was then shot.
Shortly afterward, police were called to the Moz apartment regarding the beating of Juan Moz. When they arrived, Carlos Moz told police he fired the shot and showed them where the gun was.
Carlos Moz spent three months in jail before he was able to make a reduced bond of $10,000, Willis said.
"My client, Carlos Moz, is a person of high moral character who had never been arrested before," Willis said. "He started the night at a baby shower and ended up having to defend himself and his brother against these people. It was a case of defense of self and family."