Police: Man Tried to Photograph Miss Tennessee in Tanning Booth
7 Eyewitness News Staff
In June 2011, Erin Hatley was crowned Miss Tennessee in Jackson.
Wednesday morning, a short walk away from the Carl Perkins Civic Center, where one of the happiest moments in her life happened, she faced Nicholas Vestal. A man accused of using a cell phone to try and take a nude picture of her.
Lt. Tyreece Miller from the Jackson Police Department said, "[I] just want to commend Ms. Hatley for bravery in facing this man because she could have easily let this go. She chose to come here."
According to the arrest warrant, on May 5th, Vestal, 27, of Bells, was at Island Tan and Swimwear on Union University Drive and rented the booth next to Hatley. He reportedly extended his cell phone over the tanning booth in an attempt to take a picture of Ms. Hatley. She yelled "Excuse Me!"
The investigation concluded that Vestal heard someone enter the booth beside him, and, without knowing who the person was, he
anticipated that this person would soon be undressing. He then activated the camera on his cell phone with the intent of taking a picture of a woman in an indecent manner for the purpose
of sexual arousal or gratification.
Investigators said Vestal was unsuccessful in his attempt to get a nude picture of Miss Tennessee.
Island Tan and Swimwear owner Lisa Russom said, "We've been in business in Jackson for almost 22 years. This is a very isolated event. We personally called the police and filed a report against this individual."
"We personally told this person he cannot come to any of our 5 locations for any reason or he will be arrested for criminal trespass," Russom continued. "Erin and her family are in our prayers as well as the family of the perpetrator."
Wednesday morning in court, Vestal pleaded guilty to attempt to commit unlawful photographing in violation of privacy and apologized for his actions.
Judge Blake Anderson sentenced him to 24 hours community service, six months supervised probation and referred him to Pathways for psychological assessment.
Miller said, "I can't say if Nick Vestal has done this before but I am pretty certain he won't do it again."
Miss Tennessee left the court room with her father and said she was satisfied with the sentencing.