Mom testifies in Ky. coach trial over player death
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The mother of a high school football player who died after collapsing at practice said Friday the coach told her in the hospital that he had pushed the team hard.
David Jason Stinson, the former Pleasure Ridge Park High School coach, has pleaded not guilty to charges of reckless homicide and wanton endangerment in connection with the death of Max Gilpin, 15, who collapsed while running in 94-degree heat in August 2008 and later died.
Gilpin's mother Michele Crockett was the first witness as testimony began. Her voice cracked at times as she talked about her son.
Crockett said Stinson told her at the hospital where Gilpin was taken after collapsing that he ran the players hard at practice that day because they were "not hustling and kind of goofing around."
Crockett says Stinson "was upset at that time, he was upset about it," referring to Max's condition.
Earlier in her testimony, Crockett was asked about medication Max was taking for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Leland Hulbert said in opening statements Thursday that Stinson ran a brutal practice the day Gilpin collapsed, denying players water and putting winning ahead of safety.
Defense attorney Brian Butler said Stinson ran a tough practice but wasn't responsible for the heat stroke that felled Gilpin and never denied him water. Butler called the prosecution a "witch hunt."
Stinson's trial is a rare case of a coach being charged in the death of a player. Gilpin died Aug. 23, 2008, at a Louisville hospital of heat stroke, sepsis and organ failure. Medical examiners opted not to perform an autopsy.
A jury of 10 men and five women was selected Thursday afternoon. The trial is expected to last about three weeks.
Associated Press writer Brett Barrouquere contributed to this report.