Local News

April 25, 2014

Court roundup: Teen theft ring participant sentenced

Editor’s note: Updates on high-interest criminal cases previously reported in The Daily Citizen appear periodically on Saturdays.

A Dalton teen who officials said was part of a teen theft ring that stole several vehicles in Whitfield County and broke into about 100 cars has been sentenced to 10 years, with one year in jail and the rest on probation.

John Parrish accepted a negotiated guilty plea. As part of the sentence handed down by Superior Court Judge Cindy Morris, he must also pay about $13,000 in restitution to the victims, enroll in a state-run boot camp for at least 90 days and complete 100 hours of community service.

When the sheriff’s office arrested Parrish in mid-September, officials said there were five other teens involved in the ring. Their names were not released because they are juveniles. Officials from the Dalton Police Department said the teens admitted to breaking into at least 100 vehicles last summer, some of which were inside the city limits, but investigators were never able to match all of those break-ins back to reported cases.

Police Department spokesman Bruce Frazier said at the time that the teens stole three cars inside the city, all of which were eventually recovered after the thieves tired of their joy rides or the vehicles got stuck and were abandoned.

Also in Superior Court:

• A man accused of sexual acts against 13- and 11-year-old girls is scheduled to appear in court at the end of June to state whether he is ready for trial.

Lawrence Edward “Larry” Womac of Dalton faces charges of rape, four counts of aggravated sodomy, aggravated sexual battery, four counts of aggravated child molestation, child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes, first degree cruelty to children, false imprisonment and aggravated assault.

According to arrest records, Womac is accused of incidents involving the two girls as well as committing sexual acts in front of a preschool-aged boy. He is scheduled to appear before Judge David Blevins on June 30.

Authorities arrested Womac at a Rocky Face home in July after asking the public for help locating him. Police believe Womac invited the girls, who were guests at a hotel where he was staying, to come into his room, then sexually abused them.

• Zachary Alan Henry of Dalton is scheduled to appear before Blevins on June 30 to state whether he is ready for trial.

Henry was 27 when he was charged with rape in December 2013 after a woman told police he raped her and held her captive for several hours at a hotel in March 2013.

• Ronald Len Merrill of Dalton, who is accused of threatening his girlfriend and at least one law enforcement officer with a steak knife, is scheduled to appear in court on June 9 before Judge Jack Partain to say whether he is ready for trial.

He is charged with two counts of aggravated assault (family violence), false imprisonment, battery (family violence, first offense), three counts of obstruction and two counts of aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer.


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