Following a daylong trial Wednesday in Hawkins County Circuit Court, the jury was out for about 30 minutes before returning the not guilty verdict.
Patterson, 41, 1012 Church St., Lot No. 6, Surgoinsville, was accused in the May 28 stabbing of a neighbor, Kelley Edward Barnett, that allegedly occurred following an argument between the two men over a barking dog.
Barnett suffered a severe stab wound to the abdomen and a severe cut to his arm which prosecutors claim was a defensive wound. He was flown from the Hawkins County Memorial Hospital emergency room to Holston Valley Medical Center via Wings Air Rescue due to the severity of the wounds.
Patterson testified Wednesday that during the argument he saw Barnett pick something up off the ground that he thought might be a weapon. Patterson said he believed Barnett wanted to kill him.
Although Patterson's explanation for the incident was self-defense, he also testified that Barnett fell into the knife to receive the abdomen wound.
There was also testimony that Barnett was intoxicated and unstable at the time of the incident. Attorney Doug Jenkins, who represented Patterson, said he and his client were grateful for a "fair and just verdict."
"Mr. Patterson was on his own property at the time the alleged offense occurred, and Mr. Barnett was the aggressor in the case," Jenkins said following the trial. "There was testimony that Mr. Barnett had been drinking. Obviously we contend that this was self-defense and that Mr. Patterson was in fear for his safety."
Patterson could have faced eight to 12 years in prison had he been convicted.