A former Georgia State Patrol secretary pleaded guilty to falsely reporting that on May 23, 2018, an armed man came into the post on Martha Berry Highway and threatened her.
Cheryl Lisa Stewart, 41, primarily remained silent and did not offer the reason for why she told a person at the Cartersville GSP post she’d been threatened.
The person at the Cartersville GSP post then called 911 believing her co-worker was in danger.
A massive manhunt ensued and much of the Armuchee area was shut down as police from multiple agencies went into businesses and searched the surrounding area for the reported gunman.
“It created a lot of trouble,” Assistant Floyd County District Attorney Natalee Staats said. “In fact there was a shooting at that time on Tamassee Lane and we had to split our officers.”
As they searched for evidence of the identity of the gunman Stewart had reported, police found a video from a nearby business that showed the front of the GSP post. The video showed a district attorney’s office investigator going in to the building earlier in the day but no one else went into the building until an officer responded to the 911 call.
Once they showed Stewart the video she ceased cooperating with police in the investigation, Staats told the court.
She pleaded guilty on Friday to misdemeanor false report of a crime and false transmitting of public alarm. The felony false statement charge was dropped.
Judge J. Bryant Durham sentenced her to 24 months probation on the two counts as well as a small fine and 80 hours of community service.
As part of the sentence she will undergo a mental health evaluation. Her attorney said she has no prior criminal record. He also said she has had some mental health issues in the past but did not elaborate further.
Judge Durham assented to requests that Stewart be sentenced under the First Offender Act and any records of her mental health evaluation be sealed.