Runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks – sporting an orange vest and a baseball cap emboldened with the slogan “Life is good” – spent Tuesday morning mowing the lawn of a Georgia public building as part of her community-service sentence for lying to police.
“I’m doing well. … I’m getting there,” a sweating Wilbanks told a throng of reporters and photographers after her mower sputtered out in the long, damp grass – forcing her at one point to yank on the power cord some eight times. “I need to get back to work. I don’t want to get into trouble.”
In June, Wilbanks pleaded no contest to falsely telling police in April that she had been kidnapped and sexually assaulted when, in fact, she had merely gotten cold feet over marrying fiancé John Mason.
She was sentenced to 120 hours of service, 24 of which she already has under her belt after cleaning probation offices and washing public vehicles, Peggy Chapman, public information officer for the Georgia Department of Corrections, tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Wilbanks also was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay $2,550 in restitution to the sheriff’s office that helped with the search. The city of Duluth, Ga., where Wilbanks had lived with Mason, spent nearly $43,000 to search for her; Wilbanks reportedly has repaid $13,249.
While on the job Wilbanks is prohibited from conducting interviews, says Chapman, who added: “Once she leaves for the day, she can do whatever she wants to do.”
So far, that has yet to include getting married – and there’s still no word on when or if she ever will.