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Preston Pleads Guilty -- UPDATED

By Glenn Collins
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 | 11:02 AM

DOUBLE SPRINGS — Witnesses and attorneys walked into Winston County Circuit Court last Friday ready to begin jury selection. Nathan J. Preston, 29, of Haleyville, was to be tried on 4 counts of assault and 1 count of driving under the influence.

Then, counsel for the defense, Garve Ivey, of Jasper, approached the prosecutor, Assistant Alabama Attorney General Pamela Casey looking to make some sort of deal. Casey said, "I said 'no deal.'" Casey told them that they could enter a blind plea and ". . . plead his case to the court."

Preston did enter a blind plea of guilty. He will plead his case at sentencing on April 6. A blind plea is not a plea bargain. A defendant enters a blind plea when he or she pleads guilty without an agreement regarding what sentence may be recommended to the judge. Preston faces up to 24 years in prison and fines up to $49,000.

This all stems from a July 12, 2007, accident. Preston was driving a jeep around 3 in the morning with five passengers, Will Wickwire (at the time a Winston County Deputy Sheriff), Katti Miller, Daniel Mobley, Logan Tedder, and Lauren Masters, when he lost control of the vehicle resulting in various injuries to all.

Wickwire is under indictment for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Casey said that she will now move to set a trial date in that case. Posted in News | Crime and Courts