Evidence kept from Louisville coach’s lawyers
Posted: Wednesday, September 2, 2009 4:51 pm
By: By BRETT BARROUQUERE, Associated Press Writer
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A judge ruled Monday that prosecutors withheld evidence in the trial of an ex-high school football coach charged with reckless homicide in the death of one of his players.
The ruling came on the opening day of jury selection in David Jason Stinson’s trial.
The former Pleasure Ridge Park coach is also charged with wanton endangerment in the death of 15-year-old offensive lineman Max Gilpin, who collapsed during practice while running in 94-degree heat last August. Gilpin died three days later.
Stinson’s case may be the first time a coach has faced criminal charges in a player’s on-field death.
Jefferson Circuit Judge Susan Schultz Gibson ruled that prosecutors should have told defense attorneys that Dr. William Smock, who has been a prosecution witness for 25 years, believed the lineman’s death was not a homicide.
Gibson also ruled that the 1,000 pages of medical records and personnel files were turned over to too late to give the defense a chance to sort through it.
But the judge said if Stinson’s attorneys wanted to use the evidence, they could.
Defense attorney Alex Dathorne said he would use the initial coroner’s report that ruled Gilpin’s death was an accident.
Gibson also said Smock, head of emergency medicine at the University of Louisville hospital, could testify.
She ruled prosecutors must disclose any other experts they spoke with that gave opinions that could help the defense.
Smock testified Monday that he met with prosecutors in March about Gilpin’s death, initiating the meeting as a courtesy.
Then he was subpoenaed by the defense.
Smock said the amphetamine Adderall, which is prescribed to people with attention deficit disorder, likely contributed to Gilpin’s death, not dehydration as prosecutors have claimed.
“Max died of heat stroke, but he did not die of dehydration,” Smock said. “I believe I said this is an accident. This isn’t a criminal event.”
Dathorne said prosecutors clearly withheld information beneficial to the defense.
“This is their guy. You know it, I know it and they know it,” Dathorne said. “What happened here is they didn’t like what he had to say.”
Jury selection continues Tuesday.