Coach assault trial set on Oregon court calendar

Curry County Courthouse

Curry County Courthouse in Gold Beach, Oregon. Creative Commons photo by J. Stephen Conn.

A former Thunder Mountain High School football coach accused of knocking out a student player will face trial on assault charges in April.

A ‘not guilty’ plea was entered on the behalf of John Wahl during an arraignment in Curry County Circuit Court on Wednesday. A two-day trial was scheduled to start on April 16th.

Wahl, who taught sixth-grade math at Floyd Dryden Middle School and was an assistant coach for the Falcons, faces felony criminal mistreatment in the first degree and misdemeanor assault in the fourth degree after what was described as an impromptu boxing match at a Gold Beach, Oregon football camp in the summer of 2012. Wahl allegedly celebrated after knocking out a Juneau student, then 14-years old, in an incident that was reportedly recorded on video.

Curry County District Attorney Everett Dial said earlier that he briefly considered dismissing charges against Wahl. But he said that they later received offers of donations that would help cover the trial’s expenses, including flying the student down for an appearance during the trial.

Wahl has retained the services of Ashland attorney Jonah Morningstar who — according to his website — specializes in a wide variety of criminal defense cases. Morningstar did not return a message seeking comment on Wednesday.

Both Wahl and Thunder Mountain Head Coach Bill Byouer later lost their jobs with the football team. Wahl then resigned as a teacher at the beginning of this school year.

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