Teen pleads guilty in girlfriend’s death
Trespassing led to fatal accident
The Social Circle teen charged with accidentally killing his 16-year-old girlfriend when the front loader he was operating fell and crushed her pleaded guilty on Tuesday.
Kyle Holland, 18, entered a guilty plea at Newton County Superior Court to involuntary manslaughter, criminal trespassing and theft by taking. The three other teens involved in the incident, Cody Smith, 17, of Covington, Tony Burnett, 19, of Monticello, and Jeffrey Cantrell, 18, of Newborn also entered guilty pleas to their charges of criminal trespass and theft by taking.
The five teens reportedly trespassed into the Stanton Springs Technology Park construction site off of U.S. Highway 278 on Sept. 30 and took joyrides on the equipment, including a dump truck, road grader and front loader. Kerri Mincy, 16, was riding as a passenger on the front loader driven by Holland when it slipped down an embankment. Mincy jumped off as the machine fell but was unable to get clear of its path and was crushed.
Smith, Burnett and Cantrell were sentenced to 10 years probation. Smith and Burnett were required to serve the first 30 days in jail while Cantrell was required to serve the first year in jail.
Holland turned down a plea offer made by the District Attorney’s office said Assistant District Attorney Layla Zon. Instead he requested a pre-sentence investigation, which means the probation department would investigate the case and make its own sentencing recommendation to the judge. The investigation should be concluded around late March or early April, said Zon.
All four teens were required to stay away from the Stanton Springs Technology Park construction site.
Smith, Burnett and Cantrell were required to have no contact with co-defendants and were sentenced to 120 hours of community service.
Holland’s attorney, Michael Waters, said Holland’s parents would like the court to consider their son’s circumstances before sentencing. He pointed out Holland had no criminal record and that none of the defendants had anything on their record more serious than a speeding ticket.
Zon said the victim’s family had a sense of relief that all the defendants had entered guilty pleas and were waiting for the findings of the pre-sentencing investigation.