Kingsport man cleared in fatal stabbing now faces child abuse charge

Rain Smith • Updated Jan 17, 2019 at 2:26 PM

KINGSPORT — A city resident who fatally stabbed a man outside the Kingsport YMCA in 2015 — then was cleared of first-degree murder by a jury — is now accused of felony child abuse against an infant.

Zachary Morris Gardner, 24, was indicted by a Sullivan County grand jury on Dec. 11. Records at the Kingsport Police Department state Gardner was arrested Tuesday on warrants at his home, 1155 Ridgecrest Ave.

According to the grand jury presentment, in July of last year Gardner knowingly inflicted “serious bodily injury” on a child, and a “deadly weapon was used to accomplish the act.”

At the time of the abuse, the victim was 1 month old.

Gardner is charged with two felony counts of aggravated child abuse. Kingsport police detectives investigated the case, with other witnesses including doctors, nurses and EMS personnel.

In June of 2016, Gardner, 22 at the time, stood trial for first-degree murder. The charge was related to the March 2015 death of Huey Stanley Jr., also 22.

Stanley was stabbed at the Kingsport YMCA on Meadowview Parkway. According to court testimony, from the sidelines of a pickup basketball game Stanley directed trash talk toward Gardner’s juvenile brother, who was playing on the floor.

At one point, Stanley reportedly said he would fight the teen if he weren’t underage. The teen then said he could fight his brother and called Gardner to the facility.

After the YMCA closed, a confrontation occurred outside. Stanley allegedly sucker punched Gardner, then pulled Gardner’s shirt over his head and ripped the garment.

The fight lasted 10 to 15 seconds, according to witnesses, and ended with Gardner stabbing Stanley in the neck. Stanley was rushed to a hospital and later pronounced dead.

At the conclusion of a three-day trial, jurors went into deliberations for two hours and returned a verdict of not guilty. Gardner’s attorney had presented the incident as self-defense and painted Stanley as the aggressor.

As for Gardner’s new felony charges of child abuse, he remains held in the Sullivan County jail. His bond has been set at $100,000.

When Kingsport police apprehended Gardner on Tuesday, a woman at the scene was also arrested.

Shyanne Mountjoy, 24, allegedly became belligerent with officers, screaming and cursing them. After multiple commands to calm down, she was charged with disorderly conduct and taken into custody.  Allegedly pulling away from officers and being combative with police netted Mountjoy an additional charge of resisting arrest. 

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