Crime

More women make claims in assault case against ex-Bibb deputy

Video: District attorney talks about case against former Bibb deputy

Bond was denied Wednesday for Jeffery Prestridge, a former Bibb County deputy accused of assaulting a woman in 2015. District Attorney David Cooke, in arguing against a bond, talked about how other women have come forward with allegations against
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Bond was denied Wednesday for Jeffery Prestridge, a former Bibb County deputy accused of assaulting a woman in 2015. District Attorney David Cooke, in arguing against a bond, talked about how other women have come forward with allegations against

Three more women have come forward with claims of abuse against a former Bibb County sheriff's deputy who was jailed this week after five other women he'd dated told authorities the deputy assaulted and intimidated them, prosecutors said Friday.

The deputy, Jeffrey Brian Prestridge, charged with aggravated assault, aggravated battery and false imprisonment, was denied bond at a Friday hearing.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Nancy Scott Malcor said more felony charges are expected and that additional warrants are being sought against Prestridge for allegedly abusing two children of a former girlfriend.

Prestridge was fired from the sheriff's office Tuesday. He started his career in law enforcement as a Macon police officer in May 2013.

In asking that a bond be set, Prestridge's attorney mentioned his service as a 12-year Marine veteran and a recent Bibb Deputy of the Year nominee.

A woman Prestridge had dated off and on for five years also testified on his behalf that she hadn't seen the 34-year-old Prestridge behave the way his accusers contend.

After the hearing, the ex-deputy's lawyer, Ashley Deadwyler-Heuman, said the woman who testified had "seen him in all of his states -- happy, sad, mad -- and they've had heated arguments, but he has never once indicated to her in any way that he is a violent person."

Deadwyler-Heuman added that Prestridge "may be guilty of seeing multiple women at one time, but he maintains his innocence."

She said the child abuse claims were investigated a couple of years ago "but nothing came of it."

Arrest warrants issued Friday accused Prestridge of cruelty to children for allegedly hitting a 7-year-old and an 8-year-old on their backs with a belt and "punching them in their private parts."

The alleged abuse happened in December 2013 while the children's mother was dating and living with Prestridge, the warrants said.

'WOMEN WERE TERRIFIED'

Most of the other accusations against him date back about a year -- though some go back to 2011 -- and include one woman's contention that Prestridge kicked and choked her. The woman said he also beat her with a wine bottle.

"These women were terrified," Malcor said after the hearing, referring to alleged threats Prestridge made to keep the women from reporting him.

In mid-2015, Prestridge was assigned to a new patrol district after spending his entire career policing another part of town.

After the reassignment, "it was a challenge to earn his trust and confidence in myself and the chain of command," a supervising sergeant wrote in Prestridge's latest performance review dated Jan. 20.

Prestridge "'works with a 'chip on his shoulder.' This serves him well while patrolling in an area nicknamed 'The bucket of Blood!'" the sergeant wrote.

Prestridge has an "impeccable appearance and high level of physical fitness" but "needs to work on being more consistent in his attitude toward superiors and drop his guard a little. Relax and smile more," the sergeant wrote.

Prestridge had aspirations of becoming a corporal, according to comments he wrote after a six-month evaluation that ended in April 2015.

"I want to be given the opportunity to motivate other deputies and to do what's always truthful and right," Prestridge wrote.

Two months later, he was approved for Field Training Officer School, which prepares deputies to train others. Last August, he met requirements to join the Bibb County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard Unit.

'HELPFUL AND PROFESSIONAL'

In 2014, the Macon Police Department was consolidated into the Bibb County Sheriff's Office, which received commendations about Prestridge in addition to an allegation of improper conduct that year.

In August 2014, a woman alleged Prestridge sent harassing text messages to her sister. To illustrate the allegation, the woman attached several of the texts to an email sent to Lt. Randy Gonzalez, a sheriff's office public information officer, according to personnel records. The woman wrote, "I don't feel as if this is a good representation of Bibb County's finest," records show. Prestridge was given a verbal warning.

A month later, a supervising sergeant gave Prestridge a positive review.

Prestridge is "a very enthusiastic, hard-working person. He always goes the extra mile when it comes to his work ethics."

In November 2014, Bibb County Sheriff David Davis sent a letter to Prestridge commending him on a "job well done" after an October incident that led one lieutenant to later nominate Prestridge for 2014 Patrol Deputy of the Year.

Prestridge was called to a carjacking on Pio Nono Avenue. He found the stolen car an hour later on Eisenhower Parkway, arrested two suspects and recovered a gun used in a robbery, according to the nomination letter.

A month after that episode, a woman called Prestridge's sergeant to praise Prestridge, saying she'd "never met an officer as helpful and professional."

Results from the sheriff's office internal investigation into Prestridge were not available as of Friday afternoon.

To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397 and follow him on Twitter @Joekovacjr. To contact writer Laura Corley, call 744-4334 and follow her on Twitter @Lauraecor.

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