More than two years after a shooting in Coolidge Park sparked public outcry, the last of three men charged in the incident pleaded guilty Wednesday.
Taurean Patillo, 21, pleaded guilty to one charge of facilitation to commit aggravated assault and received judicial diversion and a suspended two-year sentence.
Patillo had been charged with 17 counts related to the March 27, 2010, shooting at Coolidge Park, which injured five people and sent as many as 300 running in fear, according to eyewitnesses. The remaining 16 counts were dismissed.
On Aug. 29, 2011, one of Patillo's co-defendants, Anthony Frieson, 20, pleaded guilty to one count of reckless endangerment and received a two-year sentence. It was unclear from court records whether that sentence was suspended or served.
Patillo's attorney, Chris Dixon, said prosecutors were awaiting further investigative reports before agreeing to the plea in lieu of a trial, which is why his client's case took longer to conclude.
"We're glad to get this resolved and we're glad that my client can move on with his life," Dixon said.
Patillo remained free on bond following a Sessions Court hearing shortly after the shooting in which many of his charges were dropped and later added back in the grand jury indictment, Dixon said.
A third co-defendant, Lonta Burress Jr., faced charges in juvenile court related to the shooting, but those charges were dismissed when a key witness changed testimony on the stand and refused to identify Burress.
Burress was later arrested and convicted in connection with a school bus stop shooting on Dec. 7, 2010. While free on bond awaiting trial in that case, he was arrested and charged with murder in the shooting death of Darius Townsend on June 1, 2011.
Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...