Boater cleared of homicide charges in Lake Lanier accident
By MYFOXATLANTA STAFF
Paul Bennett faces homicide by vessel and boating under the influence charges in a fatal accident on Lake Lanier.
Jake and Griffin Prince were killed in an accident on Lake Lanier.
GAINESVILLE, Ga. -
A jury has found Paul Bennett not guilty on homicide charges in the boating accident that claimed the lives of two young boys. Bennett was found guilty on other charges, including boating under the influence, reckless operation of a vehicle and failure to render aid charges.
Bennett's fishing boat crashed into a pontoon boat the night of June 18, 2012. The accident claimed the lives on 9-year-old Jake Prince and 13-year-old Griffin Prince.
During the trial, Bennett's lawyer argued that his client did not cause the crash and therefore did not cause the deaths.
In all, Bennett was acquitted on nine of the 13 counts he was charged. Bennett was facing eight homicide charges holding him directly responsible for those deaths. Each of the homicide by vessel counts carried a three-year minimum and 15-year maximum sentence.
The Prince family was stunned after the verdict was read. Mike Price said that his heart was broken over his sons' deaths.
A judge sentenced Bennett to 30 month in prison on the misdemeanor charges. He was also sentenced to one year of probation and community service. He'll never be allowed to drive a boat in Georgia again.
Earlier on Thursday, one juror was dismissed after allegedly using Google to search the words "law" and "sentencing."
The foreman asked the judge to dismiss the juror and impanel one of the alternates in their place before continuing their deliberations.
The jury returned its verdict just after 5 p.m.
The trial lasted about two weeks.
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