Sunday November 29th, 2015 6:07PM

Prince brothers case the focus of Crime Victim's Week event

By B.J. Williams News Director
Related Articles
  Contact Editor
GAINESVILLE - The case of two young Buford brothers killed in a boating collision in June 2012 was the focal point of this year's National Crime Victim's Rights Week commemoration in Gainesville.

A ceremony was held in Kenyon Plaza at 11 a.m. Tuesday to honor all crime victims, but the Hall County District Attorney's office and the Hall County Solicitor's office choice this year to focus on child victims, specifically Jake and Griffin Prince. The two brothers were killed the night of June 18, 2012 when the family's pontoon boat was struck by a drunk boater.

Amber Sowers, the Chief Assistant Solicitor for Hall County, was honored for her work on the case. She said after the ceremony she'll never forget working with the Prince family.

"Especially in dealing with Ryan, their oldest brother, who's now an only child," said Sowers. "I wish the very best for that family and hope that they can find peace in what I'm sure was a disappointing verdict."

The man accused in the case - Paul Bennett of Cumming - was sentenced to 30 months in jail on a drunk boating conviction. (See story linked below.

Also honored at the Tuesday morning ceremony was Department of Natural Resources Ranger Mark Stephens. Stephens was on the scene as the bodies of the two brothers were recovered. The search for Griffin Prince lasted for nine days before his body was recovered from the waters of Lake Lanier.

"June 18 won't ever be the same again for me," said Stephens.

Hall County Solicitor Stephanie Woodard applauded both Stephens and Sowers for their work on the case. She said while the ceremony was meant to honor their work, it also served another purpose.

"Part of this is recognizing folks who've done admirable work and part of it is public education, so that we can take [information] to our own families, our own sphere of influence to protect our children, our elderly, our disabled and each other," said Woodard.

In fact, Woodard said she's already thinking about next year's ceremony.

"We've had an increase in crimes against the elderly here - seniors are often prime [targets] for financial abuse," she said. And, Woodward said there's also the possibility of bringing attention to disabled adults who are often victims of crime.

National Crime Victims' Rights Week is April 6-12, 2014. A number of agencies across the region have commemorated the week with various activities and ceremonies.

© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 10 months ago )
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 10 months ago )
Sheriff: Man shot 2 on I-85 because he wanted car
A 22-year-old man shot two people who stopped to give him a ride on Interstate 85 in South Carolina on Christmas Eve because he wanted their car to drive to Georgia, a sheriff said Wednesday.
5:21PM ( 10 months ago )
Local/State News
Georgia's Richt stepping down following 'mutual' decision
Mark Richt stepped down as Georgia's coach on Sunday in what was called a "mutual" decision but looked like a firing...
By The Associated Press
4:14PM ( 1 hour ago )
Falcons' slump deepens in 20-10 loss to Vikings
Adrian Peterson ran for 158 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Matt Ryan threw two more interceptions, and the Minnesota Vikings beat the slumping Atlanta Falcons 20-10 on Sunday.
4:13PM ( 1 hour ago )
Newspaper investigation: Campaign reports full of errors
Campaign finance reports filed by state and local officials in Georgia are often riddled with mistakes and discrepancies, with some leaving tens of thousands of dollars in campaign cash apparently unaccounted for, an Atlanta newspaper investigation shows.
By The Associated Press
3:21PM ( 2 hours ago )
Hall Co Fire Services hosting bicycle helmet fitting and giveaway event
Hall County Fire Services will be sponsoring a free bike helmet giveaway on Monday.
By Russell Brown
11:54AM ( 6 hours ago )
32,000 acres selected for 2015-2016 prescribed burn season in North Ga.
Fire managers with the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest have begun the first of several prescribed burns as part of the U.S Department of Agriculture's (USDA) "2015-2016 prescribed fire season."
7:34AM ( 10 hours ago )