Bennett Verdict Reaction: 'My Heart Is Broken'

Boater gets 30 months in prison and is cleared of homicide charges in the Lake Lanier boating crash that killed two Gwinnett boys.

Paul Bennett, right. (Credit: myfoxatlanta.com.)
Paul Bennett, right. (Credit: myfoxatlanta.com.)
Paul Bennett won his legal gamble Thursday (Nov. 14). But the Prince family of Buford is not happy about the verdict that a Hall County jury reached in the trial over the 2012 boating deaths on Lake Lanier.

"Not a day goes by that I don't shed tears," Mike Prince, father of Jake and Griffin Prince, told the judge after the verdict, according to WSB TV. "My heart is broken."

Bennett, a Cumming resident who owns a hair salon in Johns Creek, had rejected a plea deal from Hall County prosecutors that called for eight years in prison. With Thursday's verdicts that acquitted him of homicide by vessel, he will serve 30 months in prison.

Bennett had faced several charges in connection with the 2012 boating collision on Lake Lanier that resulted in the deaths of Griffin Prince, 13, and Jake Prince, 9.

As it turned out, Bennett's verdict was decided by 11 jurors. One juror was removed Thursday for allegedly looking online for details in the case, according to wsbtv.com. Bennett agreed to having 11 jurors decide the case.

Bennett's attorney, Barry Zimmerman of Norcross, said after the trial, "The boating laws are clear, and Mr. Bennett was not at fault for that accident, and that's what we got across to the jury, and that's what they determined," in a video on myfoxatlanta.com.

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