Local News

April 4, 2014

‘They’re going to pay it all’

Slingshot vandals have raised $30,000 to pay for damages, attorney says

Three men accused of damaging at least 50 windows of area businesses during a joyride last July have raised approximately $30,000 collectively to help pay for repair costs, according to an attorney for one of the men.

Nicholas Lane Atkins II, 20; Kinsey Logan Baggett, 17; and Ricky Herbert Pratt, 22, used slingshots to hurl marbles at windows and cars throughout downtown Dalton, primarily on Hamilton Street, Pentz Street, Thornton Avenue and Walnut Avenue, according to police. Each face 22 counts of criminal trespass and 21 counts of second degree criminal damage to property.

On Friday, attorney Sam Sanders, who represents Baggett, asked Superior Court Judge Cindy Morris to continue the cases against the men to Tuesday, April 29. His office needs more time to determine the exact cost of damages, Sanders said. Morris OK’d the request.

“There’s lots of victims, lots of money, and there’s insurance involved and we’re interested in all the restitution,” Sanders said. “We’re doing our due diligence, going through the figures to make sure no one gets paid double and that we’re also not missing anyone.”

Sanders said asking for the continuances wasn’t “dragging feet” and that his office is “just making sure the numbers are right.”

Asked if the payments are part of a plea deal that could help the accused avoid jail time, Sanders said, “We are working with the District Attorney’s Office. It’s not a legal defense if you pay, but it certainty helps and it’s the right thing to do. They’re going to pay it all off, every bit.”

Sanders said the restitution isn’t necessarily intended to help the men’s public image.

“I’m not so concerned about their image as I am their future,” he said.

Asked where the men are getting the money, Sanders said, “I have no idea,” but said “family” might be helping out.

All three men were present in court Friday morning, but refused to talk with a reporter and would not name their attorneys, leaving shortly after Morris continued the cases.

Also in Whitfield County Superior Court:

• Michael Roberts was sentenced in connection with robbing a Dalton pharmacy in May 2013 and throwing gasoline on an employee there as he took off with some pain pills the employee refused to hand to him.

Roberts pleaded guilty on March 6 to armed robbery and was sentenced to 10 years in prison without parole followed by 10 years probation. His probation conditions include a requirement to seek substance abuse treatment, and he must also perform 300 hours of community service and continue paying restitution he owes on an older case.

District Attorney Bert Poston said charges of aggravated assault and drug possession were dismissed as part of the negotiated plea.

Roberts’ father, Lewis Roberts, a co-defendant, pleaded guilty to giving false statements and hindering apprehension of a criminal and was placed on 10 years probation, Poston said. Lewis Roberts is also required to perform 180 hours of community service and must pay restitution on an older case.

“The older case involved theft of payments and materials related to their construction business, and they had been paying restitution to five victims on that case since around 2009 as part of a pre-trial diversion plan,” Poston said.

• Justin Wade Dunn pleaded guilty in March to one count of child molestation and was sentenced to five years in prison plus 15 years on probation, a $2,500 fine and 200 hours of community service. Dunn lived in Whitfield County and was 26 when he was charged in 2012.

“Charges of aggravated child molestation and aggravated sodomy were dismissed as part of the negotiated plea,” Poston said. “The plea was negotiated in consultation with the victim’s mother and was agreed to by her.”

Staff writer Rachel Brown contributed to this story.

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