May 2, 2007

Man accused of molestation denied bond

Murray County Superior Court

By Misty Watson

CHATSWORTH — Bond was denied Wednesday for a Chatsworth man charged with child molestation and tattooing a minor.

Joe Donald Boatwright, of 732 Smyrna Circle, is being held at the Murray County jail on charges of aggravated sexual battery, two counts of child molestation and two counts of tattooing a minor.

Boatwright pleaded not guilty to the charges in Superior Court. Judge Cindy Morris denied bond.

According to the indictment, Boatwright molested two girls under 16 by fondling one and lying in bed nude with the other. The indictment states he tattooed two other girls under 18. All actions are alleged to have happened in the summer of 2003 in his Smyrna Circle home.

District Attorney Kermit McManus said during the bond hearing that Boatwright tattooed the girls in their “pubic area.” McManus said because of the nature of the charges and because he expects to try the case during the next trial period, in June, Boatwright should stay in jail.

Morris said if the case is not tried in June she will revisit it to decide on a bond.

Also during court:

• David Charles Lee, no address available, pleaded guilty to terroristic threats and acts. He was sentenced to five years, with one in prison and four on probation; to pay a $1,000 fine plus court costs, surcharges and probation fees; to 100 hours of community service; and to undergo a mental health evaluation and any recommended treatment.

• Kevin Whiting, no address available, pleaded guilty to theft by taking. He was sentenced to three years on probation; to pay a $500 fine plus court costs, surcharges and probation fees; and to pay $547.39 in restitution to the victim.

• The latest case against a Chatsworth man who escaped from the Murray County jail twice the same way in a three-month period was continued to June.

Charles Christopher Roper is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for his January escape, possession of methamphetamine, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, driving on a suspended license, interference with government property and theft by taking a motor vehicle. He was also sentenced to five years on probation.

The latest case was continued because Roper is being held in the Jackson state prison.

During both escapes, in January and March, Roper was supposed to be showering. In both instances he maneuvered his 150-pound, 5-foot, 9-inch body through a shower panel approximately 8 by 15 inches into a utility room. Roper then opened a vent leading outside the jail, but within the razor wire fence surrounding the jail. Roper climbed on the roof, though officials aren’t sure how, and jumped over the razor wire fence to freedom.

Roper was in jail in January because no one would post his bond on the drug charges. In March he was in jail waiting to transfer to the state system after pleading guilty to the first set of charges.