Averett found not guilty in 2019 case

Published 10:16 am Friday, April 15, 2022

Shawn Wesley Averett of Shelby in Shelby County has been acquitted of aggravated child abuse and sexual torture charges initially made in 2019.

“Shawn and his family are extremely happy and relieved that this nightmare is over,” Averett’s attorney John Robbins said. “They are very grateful that the jury took the time to look at all the evidence and applied it to the law and were not swayed by the emotional aspect of this case. The jurors worked hard, and I am sure that it was difficult for them to listen to some of the testimony and look at some of the photographs of AJ’s injuries … I understand that some may disagree with the verdict, and some may be upset with it. But no one should be upset with the jurors. As I stated, they worked hard in a difficult situation; they were attentive; and they are a prime example that the judicial system in our State and in our country still works.”

Averett had been arrested by the Jemison Police Department on July 18, 2019, since the incident was said to have occurred in its jurisdiction.

According to court documents, a jury trial began on April 12 and the jury “returned verdicts of not guilty of Aggravated Child Abuse and not guilty of Sexual Torture as charged in the 2-count indictment.”

The final adjudication was filed by Circuit Judge Ben Fuller on April 15.

In the document, “The Court therefore orders as follows: 1. That the Defendant is adjudicated not guilty of Aggravated Child Abuse and not guilty of Sexual Torture as charged in the indictment and he is hereby discharged. 2. That any appearance bond currently held is Ordered to be fully refunded to the Defendant within 10 days of the date of this Order.”

“I am really proud of our two prosecutors. I think they gave their best effort,” Chief Deputy District Attorney C.J. Robinson said in a phone interview. “At the end of the day, we just have to respect the jury’s decision … Sometimes there is just a difference in what we know, and what we can prove.”

JPD had been initially contacted by Shelby Hospital about a 15-month-old child with head injuries, and the incident was thought to have occurred in or near Jemison.

“From day one, Shawn said he did not hurt AJ,” Robbins said. “He was consistent throughout this case that he did not cause the injuries to AJ. He told the jury the same thing that he told the police on the day AJ went to the hospital. He said that he was innocent when he was arrested, and he told that to the jury on Thursday (April 14).”