A former Thunder Mountain High School football coach accused of knocking out a student player will be arraigned next month on assault charges.
John Wahl, who taught sixth-grade math at Floyd Dryden Middle School and was assistant coach for the Falcons, faces felony criminal mistreatment in the first degree and misdemeanor assault in the fourth degree. The charges stem from an impromptu boxing match at a Gold Beach, Oregon football camp in the summer of 2012 in which Wahl allegedly knocked a Juneau student unconscious.
Curry County District Attorney Everett Dial said he considered dismissing charges against Wahl, largely because of the expense of flying the student down for an appearance during a trial. But he said on Wednesday that he never actually filed a motion for dismissal of the case.
We’ve had offers of donations. We’re looking into that. If we can raise enough money to get him down here, then we’ll proceed with the case.”
Dial said his office’s caseload ranges from about 800 to 1000 cases a year, but the County budget is very tight and he expects three-quarters of his staff to be laid off soon.
Wahl’s arraignment is set for December 11th. A pre-trial conference could be set for January and any possible trial would be in six months, or next May.
We can proceed through arraignment and pre-trial conferences. It might be possible to settle the case. My impression from the defense attorney is that they would not accept any kind of plea offer that included a plea of guilty. So, my assumption is that it will go to trial. But that can change between then and now. So, we’ll see.”
Wahl allegedly celebrated after knocking out the then-14-year old player in an incident that was captured on videotape.
Both Wahl and Thunder Mountain Head Coach Bill Byouer later lost their jobs with the football team.
Juneau School District officials said that Wahl turned in his resignation as a teacher at the beginning of this school year.