Angelina Co. jury finds Yates Media owner not guilty of domestic violence

Stephen Yates (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Stephen Yates (Source: Angelina County Jail)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - An Angelina County jury found Stephen Yates, the owner of Yates Media, not guilty of assault-family violence Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, County Court-at-Law Judge No. 2 Derek Flournoy granted a motion for acquittal in the domestic violence trial for former radio station owner Stephen Yates Tuesday morning. He said he granted the motion because the state did not maintain its threshold burden in regard to evidence presented in the case,

Yates, 55, is charged with assault family violence after Lufkin police alleged Yates assaulted his girlfriend back in October of 2013. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

On Oct. 30, 2013, Yates was arrested after Lufkin police said he threw his girlfriend, Savanna Marberry, to the ground and pushed her and grabbed her throat. He was released later that day after posting a $1,500 bail.

According to the Lufkin police report, an officer saw a BMW M6 traveling southbound on South Timberland Drive at the intersection of Chestnut Street at 7:32 p.m. on March 10. Once the officer stopped Yates, he learned about the Polk County warrant for his arrest.

The warrant was issued after the Polk County District Attorney Lee Hon learned of the assault charge.

Part of Yates' terms in his probation was that he could not have any contact with Marberry.

Flournoy told the jurors that they will have to determine whether or not to acquit Yates, or find him not guilty, before they can move forward with the trial.

Evans told the jurors during opening statements, "You're here to judge what the evidence is in this case."

Prosecutor Joanna McCurry told jurors the evidence was going to prove Yates is guilty of domestic violence, yet Evans says there are two sides to this case.

Yates' troubled past with the law dates back to 1979. He is currently on a 10-year probation sentence from 2007 following his fourth DWI conviction out of Polk County.

Yates was arrested for violating his probation in April 2011 after he was caught driving a vehicle without a breathalyzer. In May 2011, he was released on stricter probation conditions, which included surrendering his driver's license until his probation is over.

In December of last year, it was reported that Yates was in negotiations to sell the five radio stations under his name to Pentagon Broadcasting. As of now, the Yates Media Web site is blank.​ 

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