A man who will never walk again received the justice he’d been waiting for nearly four years. Thursday morning, a Shelby County jury found 30-year-old Joseph Proffitt guilty of shooting tow truck driver Scotty Arnold. Arnold spoke exclusively to Local 24 about the conviction.
Proffitt pulled the trigger on tow truck driver Scotty Arnold in Whitehaven in 2012, paralyzing him. The conviction is on all seven counts, including attempted second degree murder. After about two hours of deliberations, the jury delivered the news Arnold, his family and friends waited to hear.
Arnold was visibly emotional in court, fighting tears, as the jury foreman read the guilty verdict, count by count, ending a long chapter of legal uncertainty.
“We the jury find the defendant guilty of criminal intent, attempted second degree murder.”
Just feet behind Proffitt, Arnold breathed a little easier from his wheelchair, put there by Proffitt’s gunshots.
“He’s been walking for four years, time for him to sit down for a minute,” said Arnold.
Arnold was paralyzed in October 2012, after getting shot in the back by Proffitt following a confrontation at the Tulane apartments in Whitehaven.
Arnold’s former co-workers, including witness David Yates, sat by his side during the trial.
“When it went down, I thought I was gone because I was standing there right next to him,” said Yates.
Proffitt”s conviction on all seven counts revoked his bond, and he went into custody immediately, ahead of his scheduled sentencing in October.
“Obviously we are disappointed with the verdict,” said defense attorney Mark McDaniel.
McDaniel defended Proffitt during the four day trial, arguing the 30-year-old fired in self-defense as Arnold accelerated his truck toward him. The jury decided otherwise.
“That particular evening was tragic,” said McDaniel. “A young man ended up paralyzed the rest of his life, and we had a genuine dispute over what caused that to take place.”
For Arnold, the guilty verdict for Proffitt meant both validation and vindication.
“From day one I knew he was guilty, I know the story and now the jury does and the state does,” said Arnold.
The Shelby County prosecutor who worked this trial said Joseph Proffitt could be sentenced to as many as 30 years in prison. Proffitt’s attorney told me he plans to make a motion for a new trial.
Joseph Proffitt’s brother David pleaded guilty Monday to aggravated assault in connection with this case. He was due in court Thursday on a separate charge.