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Local Attorney ID's Cartersville Man Suspected in Athens Hit-and-Run

Police continue gathering evidence in the case of Emily Bowman and likely will charge the 22-year-old local resident.

Updated 4 p.m.

Attorney Tony Perrotta tells Cartersville Patch that Wilson Heaton, who apparently grew up near Athens in Oconee County, has extended family in Bartow County, where he works in the farming industry. 

Perrotta said Heaton would turn himself in if charged in connection with the alleged hit-and-run in Athens.

"We've offered to surrender since the Saturday it happened," Perrotta said, adding he "can't say" whether Heaton was driving the red pick-up truck that struck Emily Bowman and left the scene. "We're not running, we're right here in Cartersville."

Perrotta added the Heaton family is praying for the 19-year-old hit-and-run victim.

"The family holds daily prayer vigils for Emily and is praying for her recovery," he said.

Wilson Heaton's father, Billy Heaton, is an elementary school principal in Oconee County. His mother, Tara Heaton, lives in Watkinsville.

Original Report

An attorney has identified the suspected hit-and-run driver of Emily Bowman, 19, who is recovering from severe injuries she sustained Feb. 16 in Athens, as William Wilson Heaton, 22, of Cartersville.

He has yet to be arrested but does have an attorney, Anthony Perrotta, who has been in touch with Athens Clarke County Police, according to the Athens Banner-Herald. Police have logged hundreds of hours, trying to piece together the events of the night for Heaton, through interviews and camera footage, to establish where he was, and when, and what he was doing.

Complicating the case is that, according to Lt. Don Eckert of the ACC Police Traffic Unit, someone tampered with evidence, according to the newspaper. He wouldn't say what the evidence was or who had tampered with it or how they had done so. Helping in the investigation are detectives from the Criminal Investigations Unit and special agents from the GBI.

Although Heaton has never been booked into the Bartow County jail, according to Sgt. Jonathan Rogers, he was arrested in Athens in 2011 and 2009 on charges of underage consumption of alcohol, The Red & Black reported.

On Sunday, on the Facebook page the Bowman family is using to keep people informed about Emily, her uncle, Neal Bowman, said Emily is still non-responsive though her eyes do open.

The 19-year-old Kennesaw University student and Woodstock native has been taken completely off a ventilator and is now breathing through a tube placed in her trachea "that provides moist, oxygenated air," Neal Bowman wrote.

Someone from the Shepherd Center in Atlanta will visit on Monday to evaluate Emily for possible admission to the facility.

"It'll be great if we can have her closer to home," he wrote.

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Related Content

  • Hit-and-Run Suspect Asks to Surrender as Emily Bowman Fights for Life
  • 'Bows For Bowman' Created For Woodstock Teen Critically Injured in Hit-and-Run
  • Pickup Truck in Hit-and-Run Registered to Cartersville Man
  • Hit-and-Run Driver Strikes Kennesaw State University Student in Athens



Steve Blume March 04, 2013 at 04:51 PM
Can we all finally agree that drinking alcohol is highly overrated? Another 2 lives ruined.
Flossie Mae March 05, 2013 at 07:03 PM
This 22 year old who hit Emily. Ought to have to go and visit the family everyday. To see their pain. I also hope everytime he takes a drink know he remembers what did and has to relive it. He changed this young ladies life and it will never be the same or as it was. Thinking of you all! Someone who knows first hand!
West Cobb March 06, 2013 at 03:04 PM
Why is this punk not behind bars? I'm sure his family is having prayer vigils for Emily because they do not want him to be charged with particular homicide.
pp March 07, 2013 at 12:28 PM
I'm sure the family of the young lady appreciates all prayers because prayers change things but I'm also just as sure they want that young man to step up and take responsibility for his actions. Two wrongs do not make a right and you do not help your child by upholding them when they do the wrong thing. They should support him through the ordeal and help him see the error of his ways. What's done in the dark will always come to the light.
pp March 07, 2013 at 12:55 PM
@ west Cobb the young lady is in the hospital I heard on the news that she is improving and I also heard on the news thar the 22 year old turned himself in, thank the Lord
pp March 07, 2013 at 12:56 PM
Just stop drinking and driving it hurts everyone

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