Shontover Kirkland of Augusta, Georgia, is in jail after a “joke” claimed the lives of two fathers in a lake. The 32-year-old surrendered to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office in September 2021 to face charges over the deaths of Eynn Wilson and Edward Kirk Jr that occurred on Lake Clarks Hill in Lincoln County. The tragedy happened at a boat party, where the incident was partially captured on video. Police detained her at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Jail until a judge sentenced her this week.
AP News reports that the indictment against Kirkland for the death of Kirk Jr. by “pushing him out of the boat into deep and cold water” without regard for his swimming ability. She is also responsible for Wilson’s death. With good intentions, Wilson jumped into the lake to try to rescue Kirk, who was “struggling to stay on the water,” the report said. Authorities found Kirkland’s actions “consciously omitted a substantial and unwarranted risk of endangering the safety” of Kirk, the subpoena said.
Augusta woman pleads guilty in two lake deaths
In a statement from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, authorities later charged Kirkland with two counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of reckless conduct in the 2021 drowning of two Augusta men . Shontover Kirkland pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to several Augusta regional news outlets.
The judge sentenced Shontover Kirkland to one year in prison and nine years of probation.
The family reacts to the verdict
Video evidence from the boat party shows several accounts of how the men got into the lake. There seemed to be two boats anchored together on the water. Video emerged showing the woman pushing Edward “EJ” Kirk into the water followed by laughter. Someone then shouted, “they can’t swim!”
WRDW has reported that Kirkland has apologized to the families of the victims and her actions have caused these tragedies. Kirkland has known Kirk since she was 14 years old. According to reports, the family felt that her one-year prison sentence was not enough.