Co-defendants put on pretrial diversion program
Three defendants dubbed as grinches this past December for their destruction of Christmas lights in Jones County neighborhoods came before a Jones County Superior Court judge to take responsibility for their actions.
Elizabeth Michelle Weil, 25, Corey David Noble, 22, and Trent Lee Dyson, 17, were arrested Dec. 23, 2019, and were each charged with three counts of theft by taking for their efforts to destroy Christmas decorations for three Jones County residences.
Dyson and Weil had no previous criminal histories and were allowed to enter into the Georgia Pretrial Diversion Program.
Noble entered a guilty plea to the charges and received a total sentence of 12 months, which he may serve on probation. The sentence included a small restitution amount to the victims.
The Georgia Pretrial Diversion Program is a supervised program designed to help first-time offenders avoid having their cases go to trial and not end up with a permanent criminal record.
If the requirements of the program are completed, the charges are dismissed. Violations to the program brings the case back before the court.
According to a story about the arrests in The Jones County News, Sheriff’s Department Investigator John Simmons said he received a report of the damage to Christmas lights in a Jones County neighborhood Dec. 16 and was able to view a video of the incident posted on the Facebook page of one of the victims.
Simmons said, while reviewing the video footage, he observed a small, light-colored, four-door car drive up and stop in front of the residence.
He saw three persons exit the vehicle and run into the yard. The suspects were in the area of the yard where the lights no longer operated and were there only a second or two. Then they ran back to the awaiting vehicle and drove away.
The investigator said he could see that the suspects get out of both the right and left rear passenger seats of the car, but the camera footage did not show any identifying features of the vehicle.
He said he went to the scene of the crime and took pictures of the damaged section of decorations.
Simmons said lights and equipment had also been stolen from other residences.
He said a break in the identity of the suspects occurred when someone who knew the offenders came into the Sheriff’s Department and gave him names of the three individuals who committed the crimes.
Simmons said investigators knew the offenders had been destroying the decorations for a while, but they were only charged with the damage to three houses.
The charges were misdemeanors.