Zachary Gardner found not guilty of murder in Nettie Stanley’s stepson Huey ‘Rocky’ Stanley stabbing

Rocky Stanley killer Zachary Gardner found not guilty of first degree murder

A little more than a year after Huey “Rocky” Stanley, the stepson of Gypsy Sisters star Nettie Stanley, was stabbed to death outside a YMCA in Kingsport, Tennessee, a jury has determined that the man who killed Rocky was not guilty of first degree murder and acted in self defense.

The verdict came earlier today after a three-day trial at the Sullivan County Justice Center in Blountville, Tennessee. According to Times News, now-22-year-old Zachary Gardner was in tears after the verdict was read. In contrast, the site reports that “Stanley’s family became upset at the verdict and had to be escorted from the courtroom by police.”

UPDATE – Click here for a video report that includes reactions from some of the Stanley family members.

The defense team tried to establish throughout the trial that Rocky was the aggressor and Zachary acted in self defense — and it appears their version of the story was believed by the jury of seven men and five women. “The jury agreed he was acting in self-defense,” said Assistant Public Defender Andrew Gibbons. “I don’t know that the jury had any other choice.”

Zachary Gardner’s father, Roger Gardner, said of the verdict: “I feel like it was the right decision.” He did express empathy for Rocky’s relatives. “I feel sorry for the Stanley family, I do. But I feel like it was the right decision.” Roger added, “I can sleep now.”

At the time of this post, the Sullivan County District Attorney’s Office had yet to comment on the verdict.

Huey Rocky Stanley Jr
ABOVE: A photo of Huey “Rocky” Stanley

Throughout the trial, multiple witnesses seemed to agree on the basic narrative of what happened on the night of the stabbing. Four young males were playing basketball at the YMCA when Huey Stanley and two of his cousins arrived and asked to play. The four teens declined, so Huey and his cousins left. The three of them later returned and began to heckle the four teens on the court.

The heckling was reportedly focused on one of the teens in particular, Zachary Gardner’s 15-year-old brother. Rocky reportedly asked the teen his age, then stated that he wouldn’t fight him because he was too young. Rocky reportedly said he had just turned 18, although he was 22 at the time.

According to the witnesses, the 15-year-old then told Rocky that if he really wanted to fight he could call his older brother Zachary. Rocky said to make the call.

From Times News:

Gardner arrived while they were gone, and when the trio returned, both parties left their vehicles and walked toward one another.

Gardner and Albert Cornell began talking. The teen said both men exhibited calm demeanors. While the two were talking, Stanley struck Gardner in the side of the head, sending him reeling backward.

Stanley pulled Gardner’s shirt over his head and ripped his shirt, according to the teen.

The fight lasted 10-15 seconds and ended when Stanley grabbed Gardner’s neck.

The parties all left, with the Cornell brothers rushing their cousin to the hospital, where he would later be pronounced dead.

According to WCYB, Zachary Gardner will be released later tonight.

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  • snark shark


  • Bruja

    Umm.. what the phuck?

    So let me get this straight. Because one person grabbed another person’s neck during a fight, the other person was justified in knifing him to death? Multiple stab wounds from what I just read on the Kingsport Times-News site: world wide web

    How does this happen? Women who are habitually beaten daily don’t get off on “self-defense” with evidence in their favor a helluva lot more favorable than this. Unbelievable.

    • snark shark

      Also he went there specifically to confront them and brought a knife along. Isn’t that premeditated? I can’t believe he got off especially with him being a habitual criminal.

      • Bruja

        I know.. I’m literally stunned.

        I can’t imagine the anguish and grief the Stanley family must be feeling tonight. You know, as crappy as some of their shenanigans are sometimes, this is a tragedy no one deserves.. not ever. One tragedy on top of another, even.

    • erb123

      i mean he didnt just grab his neck. from this account he sucker punched the defendant and then was strangling him. it’s extremely tragic but stanley was 100% the aggressor and escalated a talking situation to a blood bath.

      • Sarina

        No, the only thing that turned it into a blood bath was that KNIFE. The only thing that caused a death was that KNIFE. The only reason an argument escalated to the point of this very trial was a KNIFE that ended someones life. When the “defendant” made a conscious decision to go meet someone for a fight and bring a KNIFE, there were no sucker punches or strangulation – Only the preconceived idea to bring a lethal weapon and seriously hurt someone. It’s not like he was suddenly caught off guard and happened to have a knife. He willingly went to go participate in an altercation and brought a weapon with him. Twist it anyway you want, but what we have is someone who fully knew what he was getting into and decided to bring something with him that caused a death.

      • Bruja

        From what I read (I noted it above) the Gardner guy was instigating:

        Police were reportedly told that a male, who was involved in the initial
        confrontation, called his brother to the scene. Upon arrival of that
        brother, identified as Gardner, a “witness attempted to defuse the
        situation.”But according to court records, Gardner “continued to be
        confrontational” while approaching Stanley, and was observed to be
        “messing around in his pockets.”Police were told that Gardner then
        wielded a knife to stab Stanley in the neck and chest.

        Not that anyone deserves to be choked out, mind you, but this Gardner guy came to a fist fight with a knife. I’m all for protecting yourself, I protect myself, but I do so legally and I don’t go instigating fist fights either. This guy was itching for trouble.

  • Gigi OC

    Some of the jurors might have watched the show and saw how absolutely disgusting those gypsy sisters act. Nettie has such a foul mouth and her daughter Dallas is a trashy psycho. The family behavior probably reflected on the jurors decision. Gypsies have a reputation for being trouble makers and that made it easy for the defendant to look innocent.

    • Danielle Nall

      I would hope to God that people who were called on to serve on a jury wouldn’t be that simple minded, prejudiced, and ignorant.

    • Bruja

      Have you ever served on a jury? It certainly doesn’t sound like it, because that line of thinking would render you disqualified from this case.

      I heard people named Gigi are slores. See how that can go?

      • shygreengirl

        She has to be registered to vote to be called for Jury duty. Gigi has probably never bothered.

        • Bruja

          Unfortunately, that’s not true:

          Jurors are drawn from list of state taxpayers and licensed drivers as well as from voter registration rolls. Do not give up your right to vote in the hope that you will avoid jury duty. Chances are, if you pay taxes or drive a car, you will still be called

          But.. lets all hope she is never selected anyway, cause she is pants on the head retarded.

    • Cracker

      Fuckin gorjers lell mancies cory in ya moi

      • Kellie M


  • shygreengirl

    He intentionally brought a weapon to a fist fight. ugh, is this a case of white privilege? Because rocky was a Romnichal?

  • Gigi OC

    Oh no one of those trashy gypsy gossip pages is mad that I posted the truth! If Rocky was a gentleman then he would not have thrown the first punch. A true gentleman walks away and takes the high road. If you don’t like me posting something you deem offensive then maybe you should stop posting bad things on your gossip sites.

    I have read several posts, not only do they bully Kayla Williams but they bully and attack her children and her sister Annie. There are posts about beating these women up too, I believe that is a felony. The drama that these gossip pages drudge up is so foul and beyond reason. They condone the behavior of Rocky’s sister Dallas, she slept with a married man, got pregnant, and she was praised. When that married man left her and went back to his wife, Annie, the poor wife was attacked and called all sorts of terrible names. I guess to gypsies adultery is Ok. Making videos while high on meth and glorifying your affair is Ok too.

    Someone needs to call Child Protective Services on these people! Watching those videos is cringe worthy! With all that cursing while their young children are running around screaming, it’s disturbing!

    The entire family exudes filth!

    • Holly D.

      It seems that you are just as much of a low life as the gypsies you are so fervently putting down. Nobody deserves having a family member murdered like that, no matter what you look down upon them for. If you are so concentrated on decency, then maybe you would think twice before posting something so hurtful about people who are in the midst of mourning. How can you point your clumsy fingers at the Gypsy Gossip pages for “attacking” Annie and Kayla, when you have the audacity to say such nasty things about a family who is suffering from a major loss. A little research would elude you to the fact that the murderer has a mile long criminal record, that only started in 2012. No matter what you have seen of the Gypsy Sisters, it would be smarter to keep in ind that Rocky was not on that show and the actions of his step mother has nothing to do with this situation. You are suggesting that the jurors made a decision based upon discriminatory and arbitrary factors, which is a serious allegation against the justice system and NOT something that should be celebrated (as you are doing in your trashy post). Have some compassion, you daft moron.

    • Erica M.

      What do any of his families drama have to do with this case? You are judging a person who has nothing to do with the show, based on his family members. You are a horrible person for even coming on here justifying his death & this ruling because of some gossip pages or stuff his sister has done! Whether he threw the first punch or not, the other guy didn’t have to come, let alone with a knife to a fight! Just because they live a different lifestyle than you doesn’t make them bad people. Everyone makes mistakes so don’t act like you are holier than thou! The guy that’s guilty has a list of charges & bad behavior! He shouldn’t be walking free! Even people on the stand said they knew he was violent with a past of bad behavior and he should be rotting away in prison for his crime! and you Ms GigiOC will rot in hell alongside the devil in your head who is making you justify his MURDER over stupid shit!

    • Sabrina O

      You’re filth for thinking it’s ok for a man to stab someone and showing up with the intention of fighting someone.


    first off u don’t bring a knife to a fist fight that is a cowards way of fighting. this altercation should not have happened but people do plenty of things that shouldn’t have happened. as for the comment Gypsy people are known for being trouble makers that line is absolutely not true. That is like blaming every ethnicity for what people of the same background did ie ( all Italian people are gangsters). if this jury based their opinions on a show they should have never been selected due to the fact they already had a set mind frame. his dad can sleep at night wow lucky him because the family of the victim lays down at night wishing they were able to see and speak to their loved one one last time. @ Gigi OC As for the trashy gypsy gossip pages comment one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and you don’t have to be part of a gossip group to see what you wrote is far from the truth and that you are blatantly ignorant. I hope u never have to suffer the way this family has and that you could look beyond the fact that he was part of a family that was on tv and his ethnic background and think of how his wife feels and how his daughter will feel.

  • erb123

    if the witness story is true then i understand what they didnt convict him. it’s horrific that he is dead, and i feel for the family, but stanley punched him in the head and was the clear agressor

    this is why you dont fight!!!! a simple fist fight can end someone’s life

  • Sabrina O

    So Gardner brought a knife to a fist fight and that’s ok because his little brother called him? I highly doubt Rocky knew the guy would have a knife on him and was going to stab him to death. I’m sure money talks so bullshhhh walks. With Gardner’s already lengthy criminal record I’m sure it won’t be long until he is back behind bars for committing another crime. My thoughts and prayers are with Rocky’s family as they are the ones who lost their son. I hope Gardner has horrible nightmares for the rest of his life knowing he took another man’s life because he got punched. He looks like a little wimp and probably wouldn’t be able to hold his own in a fight. Loser.

    • Zach gardner

      Was any of yall there no I don’t think so yall don’t know what happen I’m sure if 3 people jumps on you yall would’ve done the same thing so yall can talk all yall want it was either me or them so I did what I had to do to stay alive and if yall really wanna know the knife that they have doesn’t even have my DNA on it so go figure if you don’t know anything for sure don’t speak on it

  • Kathy

    If you shoot or knife someone twice then that’s murder, once is self defence . The first time will definitely stop them or slow them down enough to get away from them. There was no justice here. This system has been broken for many years anyway so what can you expect, Its who you know.