Domestic terrorism charges have been dropped against two local soldiers accused of tossing training grenades into a crowd last month.
On Monday, Dawson County Magistrate Judge Lisa Thurmond also dismissed two counts of child cruelty and 16 misdemeanor reckless conduct charges during a probable cause hearing for Staff Sgt. Jeremy Wade Morgan and Spc. Nicholas Gregory Wendt.
Morgan, 34, of Dawsonville and Wendt, 25, of Dahlonega still face 16 counts each of aggravated assault and possession of destructive devices for what their lawyers are calling a “stupid prank” in a local parking lot.
Authorities say the men tossed two Army-issued training grenade simulators into a crowd of 16 people, including two babies, at a parking lot off Ga. 400 about 1:30 a.m. Aug. 8.
A third man, Sgt. Thomas Daniel Campbell, 21, of Dahlonega, was also charged in the attack. He was not in court on Monday.
The trio, soldiers stationed at Camp Frank D. Merrill, an Army ranger training facility in nearby Dahlonega, was arrested following a brief chase on Ga. 400.
Superior Court Judge Jason Deal set bonds for Morgan and Wendt at $200,000 on Aug. 19.
“This is an appropriate bond for someone charged with 16 counts of aggravated assault and cruelty to children,” Deal said.
Ridge Rairigh, Morgan’s attorney, said he has filed a motion asking the court to revisit the bond amount. As of Tuesday, no date had been set.
Capt. David Nelson, Camp Merrill company commander, has said the three soldiers worked in support roles and were not training as Rangers.
Morgan is a non-commissioned officer in the human resources department where Campbell is also assigned. Wendt works on communication equipment, according to Nelson.
During the Aug. 19 bond hearing, Dawson County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Goodie said the three soldiers had been drinking alcohol when they left Morgan’s Dawsonville home about 11:30 p.m. Aug. 7.
Witnesses said the trio cruised through the Ingles parking lot three times before tossing two grenade simulators, typically used in military training, within about 40 feet of the crowd.
Goodie testified that the first exploded near the crowd, while the second one did not detonate.
Nelson has said the soldiers should not have had the devices. The Army is conducting its own investigation.