Family reacts to guilty plea in double drowning on Clarks Hill Lake
The accused person in the drowning deaths of two men pleaded guilty and was sentenced less than a year after their deaths.
Best friends Edward Kirk and Eynn Wilson both drowned when one of them fell from a boat into Clarks Hill Lake, followed by the other’s attempt to save him.
For their deaths, 32-year-old Shontover Kirkland was charged with reckless conduct and two counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Tuesday, she entered a plea of guilty in Lincoln County.
She was sentenced to 10 years of probation, with the first year to be served in jail. The judge did not grant Kirkland first-offender status.
An agent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation testified about the investigation in court on Tuesday.
Kirk’s sister, Lakesha Johnson, stated, “We had to relive this whole devastating incident all over again.”
The GBI says it was made aware of a number of videos shared on social media that assisted agents in determining what transpired. These videos and the 911 call identified the location of the incident to the Cherokee Boat Launch.
On the day of the incident, at approximately 4:30 p.m., Kirkland rented 2 boats from Clarks Hill Boat Rental. The boats were linked together and moored. On the boats, 18 people were celebrating the birthday of a friend.
Kirk was captured on video standing next to a woman wearing a life vest. Everyone on the boat was aware that she could not swim, but nobody knew that Kirk could not.
According to agents, the GBI determined from her nails that Kirkland pushed Kirk and the female into the water.
Wilson entered the water to save Kirk after a struggle broke out in the water. In a subsequent conflict, they both remained submerged and never surfaced.
Several others attempted to save them but were unsuccessful.
Tuesday, there was a large altercation between the family members and friends of the 2 victims and the family members and friends of Kirkland outside the court building.
Police were required to enter the parking lot and compel everybody to leave.