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Fatal boat wreck suspect free on bond
Bennett jailed Friday in Hall County
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A man charged with homicide in a June 18 boat collision that killed two children is free on a $50,000 bond, according to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.

Paul J. Bennett, 44, posted the bond Monday afternoon after waiving his right to a first appearance in court.

Bennett is believed to be responsible for the late-night boating collision in the Shoal Creek area of Lake Lanier near Buford.

The collision killed 9-year-old Jake Prince and his brother, 13-year-old Griffin Prince. Law enforcement agencies from across the state spent more than a week searching for Griffin, whose body was found in 113 feet of water.

The two boys had been riding in a pontoon boat operated by their father, Michael Prince, with several others when Bennett’s boat struck the pontoon.

In addition to being charged with eight counts of homicide by vessel, Bennett has also been charged with boating under the influence, failing to render aid and reckless operation of a vessel.

The bill of indictment against him says that Bennett’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.10 grams and more “at any time within three hours” of operating the boat.

The indictment also charges that Bennett left the scene of the accident without giving his information to anyone involved in the collision.

On Friday, Bennett was booked into the Hall County Jail after a grand jury handed down the indictment against him.

Attorneys for either side could not be reached Monday.

Repeated efforts to reach District Attorney Lee Darragh were unsuccessful; Bennett’s lawyer, Barry Zimmerman of Zimmerman & Associates of Norcross, is out of the country and has not commented on the case.

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