Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Civil Settlement In Runaway Bride -- UPDATE

For those who care, which includes about 2,000 angry Duluth residents and few others, Jennifer Wilbanks settled with the City of Duluth, Georgia in the civil claim arising out of the cost of looking for her.

Runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks has paid Duluth nearly one-third of what the city spent searching for her in April. "The check is in hand. It was delivered to my city clerk this morning," Duluth Mayor Shirley Lasseter said Tuesday of the $13,249.09 payment.

In an agreement with Duluth, Jennifer Wilbanks expressed remorse.

The city can't sue Wilbanks for more, according to an agreement signed by her attorney and the Duluth city attorney.

Wilbanks disappeared during an evening jog April 26. She surfaced in Albuquerque, N.M., four days later — the day she was to have wed John Mason, son of Duluth's former mayor. She initially told police she had been abducted, but within hours, she admitted to the FBI that the story was fabricated.

The payment covers about 400 overtime hours worked by police and other personnel, as well as out-of-pocket expenses incurred during her search.

I applaud her attorney's work. This settlement was better for everyone. Before the celebration begins, the bride is not out of the woods.

Last week, a Gwinnett County grand jury indicted Wilbanks on a felony count of making false statements and one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting a crime.

The felony charge carries a maximum of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The misdemeanor could bring up to a 12-month sentence and a $1,000 fine.

Wilbanks indicated in a statement released May 10 that she had entered a "highly regarded inpatient treatment program."

The criminal matter will be interesting as well, though I suspect a plea with no jail time is in the works.

UDATE: Of course I was right.

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) - With her once-jilted fiance at her side, runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks pleaded no contest Thursday to a felony charge and wept as she was sentenced to probation, community service and a fine.

"I'm truly sorry for my actions and I just want to thank Gwinnett County and the city of Duluth," a crying Wilbanks told the judge as she pleaded to a charge of making a false statement.

She was sentenced to two years of probation and 120 hours of community service. The judge also ordered her to continue mental health treatment and pay the sheriff's office $2,550. If she successfully completes her probation, the felony will be erased from her record, Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said.


Post a Comment

<< Home