January 23, 2022

Guilty Plea in Death of Heard County Teen

(Newnan, GA) — A Newnan teen pleaded guilty to numerous charges in a blind plea in Coweta Superior Court this week relating to the single vehicle crash that killed Heard High School junior Austin Walker Pope on September 21, 2013.

Joseph Brian Shelnutt, the driver of the 1990 Toyota 4-Runner in the wreck, was charged with homicide by vehicle in the first degree, driving under the influence of alcohol under the age of 21, driving under a combined influence, reckless driving, underage possession of alcohol, failure to wear seat safety belt, and laying drags.

According to a report by Wes Mayer of the Newnan Times-Herald, Superior Court Judge Alan Keeble sentenced Shelnutt to 10 years with five to serve in prison for the count of vehicular homicide.

These five years can be suspended if Shelnutt completes a probation boot camp through the Georgia Department of Corrections.

Keeble also included two special conditions for the probation, one being that Shelnutt must spend a minimum of 500 hours speaking publicly to a number of schools about the accident and the other being that Shelnutt is also not allowed any contact with Austin Pope’s family.

(Read more at Times-Herald.com)




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