A judge has ordered a state prisoner to repay Forsyth County nearly $54,000 for medical treatment he received after being shot in an altercation last fall with authorities.
According to a Sept. 30 order by Forsyth County Chief State Court Judge Philip Smith, Hollis Dean Garmon owes the county $54,494.84, which includes legal fees.
Sheriff Ted Paxton filed the suit against Garmon earlier this year.
“I started thinking, why was it fair for the taxpayers to be paying for the medical bill for something Mr. Garmon was the proximate cause of,” Paxton said. “So we did some research and found out that there was a previous case with similar circumstances … it was actually in Cherokee County several years back.”
Garmon, 39, has begun serving a 20-year sentence he received Aug. 22. According to the state corrections department, he is housed at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson.
Paxton said Garmon was served notice of the suit, but never responded.
Garmon pleaded guilty in Forsyth County Superior Court to one count each of aggravated assault, possession of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
He also entered guilty pleas to two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
His sentence requires him to spend at least seven years behind bars.
The altercation unfolded Oct. 21, 2010, outside a mobile home on Keith Bridge Road in north Forsyth.
Authorities have said Forsyth County Sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Wilson and Investigator Tom McCullagh were looking for Garmon and had gone to the home, where an acquaintance of the suspect lived.
Garmon, who was wanted for burglary, reportedly ran out of the mobile home and grabbed a shotgun out of a nearby pickup. Authorities have said Wilson fired after Garmon refused repeated orders to drop the weapon.
As for the settlement, the sheriff’s civil unit is trying to determine if Garmon has any assets or property that could be seized, Paxton said.
He added that Garmon, if he finds a job after being released from prison, could have his wages garnished.
“Admittedly, it’s going to be a rather formidable task to be able to identify whether or not he does have any assets we can seize,” Paxton said. “But the bottom line is, we do have the judgment and we’re not going to let it go.
“It may take years, but we’re going to be tenacious and we’re going to keep after Garmon until we recover the money that the citizens of Forsyth County had to pay for his medical bills.”