Jennifer D. Wade Journal

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Act of God

I'm not a reporter. But, because I work in television news, sometimes I get to play one.

In the course of my career, I've been assigned to cover a few court cases. The biggest one was in 2000, when the mayor of York, PA and a few other white guys went on trial for the death of a black woman during a race riot back in the 1960s. That trial lasted for about a month and I was in the courtroom for every day of it. My other forays into courtroom drama have not been as extensive. A case here, a case there, mostly just to take notes until an actual reporter showed up. I always find it fascinating and wish I had the opportunity to do more of it.

For instance, I would have loved to have been in the courtroom today when a man named RANDY PRATT went on trial in Columbia County.

The case basically lays out like this:  Back in 2008, Pratt deposited a check for roughly $1,770 in his wife's bank account. But, the bank made an error and recorded the deposit as roughly $177,000. What did the Pratts do? Did they report this error to the bank? No. They spent the money. They donated some of it to churches, but they spent the rest of it on themselves, including using the cash to fund a move to Florida.

Soon enough, both Pratts were under arrest on theft charges. The wife fessed up last year and spent close to a year in jail. In court today, she testified against her husband, saying she knew that keeping the money and spending it was a mistake.

Randy Pratt testified in his own defense, and his defense was that he didn't steal the money. God wanted him to have it. He called the banking error an "act of god," arguing that because he routinely gave money to the church, God was just giving it back tenfold.

As far as I know, Randy Pratt was the only defense witness.

The jury deliberated for one whole hour before finding Pratt guilty. He faces up to eight years in prison when he's sentenced.

God giveth, and God taketh away.

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