Jury Acquits Former PRP Coach

by Rick Howlett on September 17, 2009

It took a Jefferson Circuit Court jury about 90 minutes to find former Pleasure Ridge Park High School football coach Jason Stinson not guilty of reckless homicide and wanton endangerment Thursday.         

The 37 year old Stinson was charged in the August, 2008 heat stroke death of 15 year old player Max Gilpin (right), who collapsed during a PRP practice.                            Max Gilpin

Stinson did not comment upon leaving the courtroom. Defense attorney Alex Dathorne spoke on his behalf.

“He was quite emotional, I think he was extremely thankful, he’s a God fearing man,” Dathorne said.

Stinson was indicted on the charges in January. Prosecutors alleged he ran his players too hard and denied them water on an afternoon when the heat index was 94 degrees, causing Max to collapse.

Stinson’s defense team countered that the teen’s heat stroke could have been caused by the prescription drug Adderall or an existing illness.

Prosecutor Leland Hulbert (below rightHulbert) said he was disappointd by the verdicts,  but the case has prompted change.

“Every coach steps on a football field and now thinks about what he’s doing a little bit more, maybe thinks about water a little bit more, watches his players a little bit more. We’re all better off for having this case,”
he said.

Max Gilpin’s mother, Michele Crockett, agreed.

“I know that this trial has brought awareness, which is what we wanted. People have been reaching out to me throughout the entire United States. Mothers have gone up to coaches since this has happened and said…people are standing up to those football coaches now,” she said.

A civil suit filed by Max’s family is pending.

WFPL’s Gabe Bullard Also Contributed To This Story

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