Teen pleads guilty in girl­friend’s death

Tres­pass­ing led to fa­tal ac­ci­dent

The Covington News - - Front Page - By Michelle Kim

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.


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