Georgia woman sentenced after ‘prank’ killed two men in lake at party

Shontover Kirkland of Augusta, Georgia is headed to prison after a “prank” claimed the lives of two parents at a lake. The 32-year-old turned himself in to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office in September 2021 to face charges in the deaths of Eynn Wilson and Edward Kirk Jr. that occurred at Clarks Hill Lake in Lincoln County. The tragedy occurred at a boat party where the incident was partially captured on video. Police were holding her at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Jail until a judge sentenced her this week.

AP News reports say the warrants accuse Kirkland of causing Kirk Jr.’s death by “pushing him out of a boat into deep, cold water” without regard to 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 out of the water,” according to reports. Authorities found that Kirkland’s actions “knowingly ignored a substantial and unjustifiable risk of endangering the safety” of Kirk, the order says.

Augusta woman pleads guilty to 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 drownings of the two Augusta men. According to multiple Augusta-area media outlets, Shontover Kirkland pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of involuntary manslaughter.

The judge sentenced Shontover Kirkland to serve one year in prison and nine years of probation.

The family reacts to the sentence

Video evidence of the boat party shows some accounts of how the men ended up in the lake. There seemed to be two ships anchored together in the water. The video appeared to show the woman pushing Edward “EJ” Kirk into the water followed by laughter. Then someone yells, “They can’t swim!”

WRDW has reported that Kirkland apologized to the families of the victims and their actions that caused these tragedies. Kirkland had known Kirk since he was 14 years old. The family reportedly feels that their one-year jail sentence is not enough.

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