Athens hit-and-run suspect pleads not guilty
by Joshua Sharpe
July 17, 2013 12:10 AM | 1645 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The man accused in the February hit-and-run accident in Athens that left 20-year-old Woodstock resident Emily Bowman with severe brain injuries pleaded not guilty Tuesday on all charges against him.

William Wilson Heaton Jr., 23, had an arraignment hearing Tuesday in Clarke County Superior Court but waived his right to the hearing and pled not guilty to all charges against him, Debbie Bowman, Emily’s mother, said.

Heaton was indicted in June on 13 charges stemming from the Feb. 16 incident when police say he fled the scene after his truck left the road and hit Bowman, a former Kennesaw State University student, as she walked along the side of the road. Charges against him include hit-and-run, DUI and six counts of serious injury by vehicle, according to Athens-Clarke court records.

Debbie Bowman said Tuesday she and her ex-husband, Dale Bowman, who attended the hearing, are not surprised by een Heaton’s assertions that he isn’t guilty.

“From what we’re being told, that’s just what happens,” Debbie Bowman said. “His attorney is just not going to let him plead guilty right now.”

But the state feels like it has “a pretty solid case,” she said.

Emily Bowman, who was in a coma for three weeks after the accident, was released in late June after more than four months in Athens and Atlanta hospitals.

Debbie Bowman said Tuesday her daughter’s condition is basically the same as when she returned home in Woodstock on June 27, using a wheelchair and unable to speak.

“She’s not doing any worse,” Debbie Bowman said. “And she really likes having her friends coming by. She seems very attentive to them.”

Debbie Bowman said her daughter has been going for outpatient therapy at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where she was hospitalized before returning home.

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