Suspect in Fatal Lake Lanier Boating Collision Is Out on Bond

Paul J. Bennett, 44, of Cumming, posted a $50,000 bond.

The suspect involved in a deadly boating collision on Lake Lanier earlier this summer bonded out of a Hall County Jail on Monday.

Paul J. Bennett, 44, of Cumming, posted a $50,000 bond, according to Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks of the Hall County Sheriff's Office.

"He was booked in on Aug. 3 and bonded out on Aug. 6," said Wilbanks.

Bennett, who owns a hair salon in nearby Johns Creek, was the operator of a fishing boat that struck a pontoon boat on June 18, killing two siblings, and his

A Hall County grand jury Thursday indicted Bennett with eight counts of homicide by vessel in the first degree (four counts for each of the two Prince boys), two counts of boating under the influence, two counts of reckless operation of a vessel, and one count of violation of duty to render assistance and identify vessel and self.

Hall County District Attorney Lee Darragh explained to Cumming Patch what Bennett could be facing if convicted.

"Each of the homicide by vessel counts is punishable by three to 15 years, and each of the other counts are misdemeanor counts which means up to 12 months on each of those" he said. "In homicide cases of this nature or in murder cases there are alternative ways to charge homicides."

Darragh said, based on the indictment, each count for Jake and Griffin Prince alleges four different ways that homicide by vessel was committed.

Bennett is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday, Oct. 1. His attorney, Barry Zimmermen of Norcross, could not be reached for comment as a voicemail said he is out of the country until Aug. 13.

The tragic incident happened in the Shoal Creek area of Lake Lanier [near Lake Lanier Islands]. According to authorities, four families -- 13 people in all, with nine children -- were on the vessel, owned by the Prince family.

Divers discovered the body of Griffin Prince after a nine-day search of murky lake waters. The brothers' funeral was in July in nearby Suwanee.


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