The nation’s first criminal trial of a football coach charged with causing a player’s heat-related death ended in a not-guilty verdict after 90 minutes of deliberation.
That’s how long a Jefferson County jury Thursday took to consider the case before acquitting former Pleasure Ridge Park football coach Jason Stinson of reckless homicide and wanton endangerment in the 2008 death of sophomore lineman Max Gilpin.
After Judge Susan Schultz Gibson announced the not guilty verdict on the charges, as Stinson dropped his head and hugged defense attorney Brian Butler. Stinson’s wife Monica sobbed, saying repeatedly, “Thank you, Lord.”
Minutes earlier, before the verdict was read, Stinson led a prayer circle of friends, family and supporters outside the courtroom, asking God to give the family of Max Gilpin closure and “heal their hearts … they miss their son.”
Michele Crockett, Max’s mother, told reporters that the family was disappointed with the verdict but their main objective was that “Max’s death would not be in vain and this trial brought awareness, which is what we wanted.” ...
...[I]n his closing, Dathorne lashed out at the prosecution for indicting the former coach, saying prosecutors wrongly rushed to judgment and then, because of media attention, refused to back down when they realized they were wrong.
“We’ve got a man looking at prison time for being a football coach,” Dathorne said, telling jurors that football is, in itself, a risk and Max’s death three days after practice was an accident...
Thursday, September 17, 2009
This from the Courier-Journal: