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Stinson Cleared To Return To Classroom

Former Pleasure Ridge Park High School football coach Jason Stinson has been cleared to return Thursday to his PRP teaching position.

Stinson was acquitted last week of reckless homicide and wanton endangerment in the August, 2008 heat stroke death of sophomore player Max Gilpin.    The 37 year old Stinson was re-assigned to a non-teachign position and replaced as coach after his indictment in January.

He’s now able to resume his technical teaching job at PRP and to apply for coaching jobs, according to Jefferson County Public Schools officials.

His attorney said after the trial that Stinson wants to return to coaching football.

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Jury Acquits Former PRP Coach

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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Jury To Get Stinson Case Thursday

Jury deliberations are expected to begin Thursday in the trial of former Pleasure Ridge Park High School football coach Jason Stinson.

More defense witnesses were called to the stand Wednesday.   Stinson is on trial for reckless homicide and wanton endangerment in last year’s heat stroke death of sophomore player Max Gilpin.

Stinsons’ defense team contends Max Gilpin’s heat stroke could have been caused by illness or a prescription drug.

Among those who testified Wednesday morning was Lois Gilpin, the teen’s step-mother at the time of his death who’s now separated from Max’s father, Jeff.

She told jurors that Max complained of being ill the morning of August 20, the day he collapsed, but he went on to school at the urging of his father.

She bristled at a proseuctor’s suggestion that she was testfiying in favor of Stinson because they attend the same church.

“I lost someone that I felt was my own child. I loved him, I took care of him when he was sick, I fed him. And when I kissed him and he was hot that morning, my biggest regret is that I didn’t fight Jeff on it. he should not have gone to school,” Gilpin said.

Judge Susan Schultz Gibson told jurors Wednesday that the defense will call one final witness Thursday.

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Defense Testimony Underway In Stinson Trial

The defense began presenting its case Tuesday morning in the reckless homicide and wanton endangerment trial of former Pleasure Ridge Park High School football coach Jason Stinson.

The morning witnesses included four teammates and a classmate of 15 year old Max Gilpin. They testified that Max complained of not feeling well the day he collapsed from heat stroke at a PRP practice last year.

Proscutors say Stinson ran his players too hard in the August heat, but the defense contends the teen’s heat stroke could have been caused by illness or a prescription medication.

One of Max’s teammates, Logan Vardeman, spoke to the jury in Stinson’s defense.

“If  I believed that that man right there did anything to intentionally hurt somebody, I would be the first person to tell anybody, but he didn’t,”  Vardeman said.

The jury could begin deliberations on Friday.

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Stinson Trial Underway

Max GilpinThe Jefferson Circuit Court of former high school football coach Jason Stinson has begun. He’s charged with reckless homicide and wanton endangerment in the heat stroke death of one of his players.

Fifteen year old linebacker Max Gilpin (pictured) collapsed during practice at Pleasure Ridge Park High School on a sweltering August afternoon in 2008.

He died three days later.

Prosecutors contend that Stinson denied his players water and forced them to run extra wind sprints that day because they weren’t practicing hard enough.

But Stinson’s defense team says there were sufficient water breaks and the prescription drug Adderall could have contributed to the teen’s heat stroke.

Many of Stinson’s former players and students are rallying behind him at his trial, including Cody Lankford.
“He’s a great guy, you know you can go to him with anything, ask him anything. He’s always had an open door policy, just a great guy, anything you need. He’d take the shirt off his back for you,” Lankford said outside the courtroom Monday.

A jury is expected to be seated Tuesday.

(Photo from www.facebook.com)