Roscoe Benny Sharpe, Jr. sentenced to 36 months probation for improper burning, disorderly conduct
The Cherokee Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office agreed to reduce charges against a homeless man initially facing third-degree arson charges in Bartow Superior Court last week.
As part of a negotiated plea deal, defendant Roscoe Benny Sharpe, Jr., was ultimately sentenced to 12 months on probation with 151 days to serve in the Bartow County Jail for the misdemeanor count of improper burning.
Sharpe did receive credit for time served dating back to Oct. 16, 2019, essentially releasing him from custody at the Bartow County Jail.
According to Cherokee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Austin Waldo, the defendant started a fire on a field adjacent to Georgia Highlands College on Oct. 2.
“There was property that the arson investigator found belonging to the defendant,” he said. “That was really about it, as far as the investigation.”
Waldo notified the court that the defendant had a previous arson charge from 1989.
“Upon receiving the accusation, it was just lighting a magazine or something like that in the Clayton County Jail,” he said.
Sharpe was also ordered to pay $250 in attorney fees, conduct 40 hours of community service and pay a $500 fine. Cherokee Judicial Circuit Judge D. Scott Smith also ordered him to refrain from having contact with Georgia Highlands College or any of its properties.
Sharpe received a consecutive 12-month probation sentence for one count of disorderly conduct, which Waldo said occurred at Walmart on Sept. 30.
“He was seen on surveillance video accosting two females, one of which was on a scooter,” he said. “He was acting strange, according to the witnesses — he approached the victims and sat in the buggy cart of the basket, he appeared to be under the influence at the time.”
Waldo also said the defendant allegedly confronted one of the victims exiting the store, claiming he was going to “[expletive] them up.’”
For the offense, Sharpe was ordered to conduct an additional 40 hours of community service and pay an additional $500 fine. He is also banned from the premises of Walmart and ordered to refrain from having any contact with any of the named victims in the case.
“Based on the facts of the case, the State’s asking that he undergo a substance abuse scan and mental health evaluation,” Waldo said.
Sharpe received one more consecutive 12-month sentence for giving false information to a police officer on Oct. 16, bringing his total sentence to 36 months on probation.
The defendant was represented by public defender Lora Alsher. “I apologize for any inconvenience,” Sharpe told the court.
According to Waldo, the defendant was living at a homeless encampment near the Walmart shopping center at the time of the offenses.
“The important thing is that you get things together and get things straightened out,” Judge Smith told the defendant. “That area that you came from out there, that has been closed out. They’ve made a sweep through there, they’ve cleaned that area out … that’s not going to be an option going forward."
Before he exited the courtroom, Smith notified the defendant the outside world has changed immensely since he was arrested last fall.
“We’re kind of under this restrictive social distancing theory right now,” he said. “So when you get out, be careful, be mindful of large groups — make sure that you are not around anyone that is apparently sick and try to take care of yourself as best you can.”