The cases against three more people charged in connection with the buying and selling of Masters Tournament tickets were dismissed Thursday in Richmond County Magistrate Court.
That brings the dismissals to 12 out of more than 30 arrests on disorderly conduct charges by sheriff’s deputies during Masters Week.
More than a dozen defendants had been summoned to appear in court Thursday. Eight defendants did not show up and will be required to forfeit the bond money they posted after their arrest – in most cases, $500. Two cases were postponed to be heard at a later date.
All three of the men whose cases were dismissed pleaded no contest to the disorderly conduct charge. Solicitor Harry B. James recommended that their cases be dismissed with the condition in two of the cases that their bond money be forfeited.
One of the men, Mark Dickson, had asked for a jury trial Tuesday. He returned Thursday to say he changed his mind and wanted to enter a no-contest plea.
Dickson, 21, attends the University of South Carolina Aiken, where he is a member of the golf team. He told Judge William D. Jennings III he had no idea he was doing anything wrong when he bought a practice-round ticket from a Florida man, Jasper B. Sojourner.
“I just wanted to see my heroes play at the Masters,” Dickson said.
Sojourner’s case was dismissed on April 26 after he sent a letter to Augusta officials protesting his arrest. Jennings agreed to do the same for Dickson and sent him on his way. He also agreed to refund Dickson’s bond money because he was a student.
That was the same deal that Stephen Sherman was looking for when he went to court, but he didn’t get it. Sherman, of Eatonton, Ga., said he wanted his case dismissed and his bond money returned. James and Jennings said the deal for him was dismissal with no refund.
“Then I’ll take a bench trial,” Sherman said.
Jennings granted his request, but said he would have to return another day for a trial.
Afterward, Sherman said it was a matter of principle and he was willing to risk trial to be fully exonerated. He said he was arrested outside of the Augusta National Golf Club on April 4 while he was asking people who were leaving the tournament whether they intended to return. He didn’t buy or sell a ticket.
“I didn’t commit a crime, and I want my money back,” he said.