MEMPHIS, TN – (WMC-TV) – A Mid-South man was caught spying on Miss Tennessee in a tanning booth. Now he is ready to pay for the crime.
When Erin Hatley was crowned Miss Tennessee last year she was a student at the University of Memphis. She appeared in court Wednesday in Jackson with the man accused of trying to capture her unclothed at a tanning salon earlier this month.
Nick Vestal from Bells, Tennessee was in court in Jackson, Tennessee. He is charged with trying to take a picture of Erin Hatley, the reigning Miss Tennessee, while she tanned at Island Tan and Swimwear in Jackson.
"He's taking pictures of somebody who is not fully clothed without her permission," said Megan Smith.
Hatley was on the other side of a partition tanning when she noticed a cell phone was put over the top. She yelled "excuse me" and the cell phone was removed.
Hatley reported what happened to the staff at the tanning salon. They called police. Vestal is charged with unlawful photographing in violation of privacy.
"I just want to commend Ms. Hatley for bravery facing this man because she could easily let go but she chose to come here," said Lt. Tyreece Miller with the Jackson Police Department.
Vestal pleaded guilty and apologized to Hatley in court. Vestal didn't get any jail time, but he has to do community service and has to be evaluated at a mental health facility.
When Erin Hatley left the courtroom with her father she was asked if she was satisfied.
"Yes sir," she said.
Hatley, from Bartlett was crowned Miss Tennessee last year in Jackson when she was a junior at the University of Memphis. No one answered the door at her parents' home in Bartlett.
Nick Vestal never got the chance to actually take any photos of Miss Tennessee. Vestal could not be reached for comment.