A Forsyth County man involved in a 2012 boating accident that killed two Buford boys has been released after settling a lawsuit with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, the man’s attorney confirmed Friday afternoon.
Paul J. Bennett was convicted in November 2013 of less safe boating under the influence and reckless operation of a vessel in the June 18, 2012, boat wreck in which Jake Prince, 9, and Griffin Prince, 13, died. He was acquitted of homicide by vessel charges.
Bennett was released from the Hall County Jail at 10:04 p.m. Thursday.
“I think it should have been done sooner,” Bennett’s attorney Barry Zimmerman said. “I don’t think we should have had to file the claim.”
Bennett’s claim alleged his good behavior days, which could allow for an earlier release, had not been counted and he faced unfair treatment in the Hall County Jail.
The deal, Zimmerman said, came together Thursday, and his client was released that night.
A hearing was scheduled in the case for Monday.
“He agreed not to file a lawsuit against the sheriff and the county for civil damages,” Zimmerman said.
Hall County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Deputy Nicole Bailes said no comment could be made at this time.
“Bill Blalock has stated that until the judge accepts the settlement on Monday that the case is still technically under litigation,” Bailes wrote in an email.
Bennett will now serve the probated term of his sentence, which will last until mid-November 2016.
“He’s done what the court ordered him and sentenced him to do, and now I think it’s time for him to get his life back together, and I hope he’s able to do that,” Zimmerman said.