By Glenn Collins
Tuesday, April 6, 2010 | 7:34 PM
DOUBLE SPRINGS -- Circuit Judge Lee Carter, calling it “a complex decision” regarding a case that “has been very difficult on the community,” sentenced Nathan Preston Tuesday to a mix of fines, probation, suspended jail terms, community corrections and one year in the county jail.
Preston sat quietly with his head down as Judge Carter announced his decision. On Driving Under the Influence, one year in county jail; on two of the Third-Degree Assaults, one year in county jail concurrent with the DUI sentence; on one of the Third-Degree Assaults, one year community corrections consecutive to the other sentences; on the First-Degree Assault, 15 years concurrent with the other sentences, suspended, and supervised probation for three years; plus fines and court costs in excess of $2,500. He also said “No” to trustee status.
According to Pamela Casey, the assistant attorney general who prosecuted the case, Preston will serve his community corrections sentence until the new jail is built. “Everyone must be held accountable for their actions, and this sentence does that,” she added.
The approximately-one-hour hearing included testimony from Logan Tedder, who was gravely injured in the July, 2007, accident. She said of getting into the jeep, “I made a horrible decision that morning.” She said, “I have a sentence of life with these injuries, given to me by Nathan Preston.” Then, turning to Judge Carter, Miss Tedder said to him, “Only you can hold Nathan Preston accountable.”
Lynn Tedder, Miss Tedder’s mother, also testified. She said that after the accident Preston’s “first priority should have been to check on the safety of the passengers. He chose to walk away.”
Judge Carter touched on Mrs. Tedder’s statement when handing down his decision. He said to Preston, “You didn’t call for help. You moved evidence. You only considered yourself.” He added, “You’ll live with this regardless of incarceration.”
In the defense phase, Preston’s mother, minister and mortgage banker were called.
Cathy Preston begged the court for mercy on behalf of her son. In very emotional testimony she said she “asked God to forgive him.” And turning to the judge, she said “I ask you forgive him.”
Nathan Preston then rose and said, “I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart.”
“Crimes have been committed and someone must answer,” Judge Carter said. He credited Preston for “taking responsibility“ for his actions in pleading guilty, in saving the state the cost of a trial and in saving everyone from having to re-live the event.