HALL COUNTY, Ga. — The man authorities say is responsible for killing two boys during a boating wreck June 18 on Lake Lanier was recently indicted by a grand jury on more than a dozen charges.
Paul Bennett, 44, of Cumming, was indicted by a grand jury on eight counts of homicide by vessel in the first degree, four for each child, two counts of boating under the influence and two counts of reckless operation of a vessel. He was also charged with one count of violation of duty to render assistance and identify vessel and self.
Georgia Department of Natural Resources Investigators said Bennett was drunk when he slammed his fishing boat into the Prince family’s pontoon boat, which carried a dozen passengers about 10:30 p.m. June 18.
Bennett, a hair salon owner in Johns Creek, was booked on Aug. 3 and posted a $50,000 bond on Aug. 6, according to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office. If convicted, each of the felony homicide by vessel charge could put Bennett in jail for three to 15 years and several additional months for the misdemeanor charges.
Thirteen year old Griffin and 9-year-old Jake Prince were the brothers killed in the collision.
This past weekend, the Dawson County Sheriff's Office along with sheriff’s office in Hall, Lumpkin and Forsyth counties held a memorial ride and classic car cruise. The proceeds will go to the Griffin and Jake Prince Memorial Fund.
Bennett will be arraigned on Oct. 1. His attorney, Barry Zimmerman, could not be reached. A voicemail said he would be out of the country until Aug. 13.
The Prince family, of Buford, was thrown overboard during the crash June 18.
Jake’s body was recovered soon after the crash, but Forsyth, Gwinnett and Cobb counties, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Georgia State Patrol assisted in the search for Griffin’s body, which was recovered June 27.
Soon after the crash, a fishing boat that crashed into the pontoon reportedly sped off and authorities later arrested Bennett at Bald Ridge Marina in Cumming.
A memorial fund was set up for the family. All donations can be made to Wells Fargo, account 7581668121 in the name of Griffin and Jake Prince.
View their online memorial at www.facebook.com/GriffinandJakePrince .