Nick Suggs pleads guilty to misdemeanor charge in Starling case, given 6 months probation

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — One of two people charged in the death of Kelsey Starling on Smith Lake last summer has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge and will serve no jail time.

On Thursday, Nick Suggs pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of negligent operation of a water vessel. Suggs, along with his wife, Jodi, were on a boat that crashed into another boat that Kelsey Starling, a 26-year-old teacher at Birmingham’s Tuggle Elementary School, was on last Fourth of July on Smith Lake, causing her to fall out.

Starling’s body was not recovered from the lake until three months later on Oct. 5.

Initially, both of the Suggses were charged with criminally negligent homicide. As part of Suggs’ plea agreement, he will have a six-month suspended prison sentence and will be on probation for six months. If he breaks probation, he will be required to do jail time. In addition, Suggs was also ordered to pay $2,275 in court costs.

As a result of Suggs’ plea deal, the case against Jodi Suggs was dismissed.

In a letter to District Attorney Scott Slatton, Starling’s father, Alton, wrote that neither he or the family would fight the plea deal.

“I have been made aware of the plea proposal made to you today,” Alton wrote. “This is, of course, your decision to make, and I have no recommendation regarding the decision. Please know that should you accept the plea proposal, my family has no objection and will offer no criticism of the plea, either publicly or privately.”

Jackson Fite, a Decatur native who was driving the boat Starling was on July 4, has already pleaded guilty to boating under the influence and is on probation for two years.


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