Testimony given: Juvenile trial begins in BHS hazing case
BLACKFOOT — The juvenile defendant facing charges relating to incidents that occurred during the basketball season last year at Blackfoot High School appeared in court Wednesday for an evidentiary hearing before Magistrate Judge Charles Roos.
The juvenile was initially charged with multiple counts of false imprisonment and battery. Charges were reduced last week to just three misdemeanor counts of battery. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jared Ricks said he will give no explanation as to why those charges were dismissed until after the evidentiary hearing. One of the three counts of battery was dismissed during the hearing Wednesday after it was determined the incident occurred outside the one-year statute of limitations. The hearing will continue today.
Once all testimony and evidence is given, Roos will rule whether the juvenile is guilty or not guilty and, if necessary, will impose a sentence.
The prosecution called three witnesses—BHS varsity basketball coach Jonathan Packer and the two complainants.
Packer, who was in his first year as head coach when the incidents allegedly occurred, testified that the locker room used by the varsity basketball team is divided into three sections, with the varsity team utilizing one section of the lockers. The two remaining sections are used by junior varsity basketball players and JV and varsity wrestlers.
Both complainants said their several of their teammates attempted to “shoosh” them while they were in the locker room, but are unable to recall exactly what happened and who did what at the time of the incident. “Shooshing” was described as being held down against their will while an attempt is made to touch their genitals and anus. Both said they never talked about what happened to anyone because it was either viewed as a joke or because it had happened to others who never said anything.
The juvenile case is the first to be tried. A jury trial is scheduled to begin March 8 for Nathan Walker. Jury selection for the trial involving Logan Chidester will be March 1 with a trial scheduled to begin March 22. Jury selection for the final defendant, Anthony Clarke, will be April 20 with a trial scheduled for May 3.