City park director faces charges

By Russell Hood

The Webster Progress-Times

 

Eupora’s park director is facing criminal charges filed against him last week by his ex-wife, including a felony.

John Prather is charged with grand larceny, a felony, and simple assault/domestic, a misdemeanor. He turned himself in Aug. 28 after the Webster County Sheriff’s Department informed him it had a warrant for his arrest.

Justice Court Judge Jerry Jones set his bond at $1,500 on the grand larceny charge and $500 on the simple assault/domestic charge. Prather posted bond that day at the sheriff’s office and is to appear in Justice Court on Sept. 18.

His ex-wife, Debra Prather, filed affidavits against him in Justice Court on Aug. 26. She alleged that, on Aug. 13, Prather took a DirecTV Genie DVR and an iPhone 4 from her, and knocked her down with his forearm.

John Prather, 48, of Airport Road is accused of committing the offense while he was off duty; the park director position is part time. He addressed the charges after being contacted by the Progress-Times and during department head reports at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Eupora Board of Aldermen.

Prather, in his statement to the newspaper and to the board, basically said he does not feel the charges are proper.

The Board of Aldermen, after a few minutes of hearing Prather’s detailed statement giving his version of events, voted to go into executive session to discuss personnel. Prather did not remain but was called back into the boardroom about seven minutes later. Aldermen came back into open session about five minutes later having taken no action and Prather left.

During his statement to the board, Prather noted that his ex-wife brought the charges against him after he pressed charges against her. Debra Prather, 51, of Carroll Street in Walthall, has pleaded not guilty to those charges, which are trespassing, disturbing the peace and malicious mischief. She is to appear in Justice Court on Sept. 13.

Justice Court Judge Rebecca Ellison, on Aug. 2, bound both Prathers over to the action of the grand jury on felony charges of cyberstalking. Debra Prather has accused John Prather of cyberstalking, and Brandy Warren has accused Debra Prather of that charge. Debra Prather was also bound over on a charge of grand larceny as alleged by her ex-husband. Ellison had issued a letter of citation ordering John Prather to appear in court Aug. 2, which court officials said he did.