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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Wi Hi Football Coach Will Get Two Trials

SALISBURY -- David Nettles, the former Wicomico High School head football coach charged with child sex abuse, will have two trials instead of one.
Following a criminal motions hearing Friday, Judge Leah Jane Seaton granted a motion giving Nettles one trial to address the allegations from victim one and a second trial to address the charges from victim two.
"The evidence to counts one through three would not be admissible with counts four and five, and vice versa," said Nettles' defense attorney, Thomas Yeager.
Yeager also reserved the right to raise issues with the statute of limitations at a later motions hearing or at trial.
Nettles was charged in March following a five-month investigation by the Child Advocacy Center. The first trial is expected to focus on charges of child sex abuse by a custodian and two counts of fourth-degree sex offense, which he allegedly committed against victim one. During the second trial he will face the charges of third- and fourth-degree sex offense.
Nettles was placed on administrative leave in November, after the Wicomico County Board of Education learned police were looking into allegations he was distributing steroids. At the time, school board officials acknowledged Nettles was also under investigation for committing alleged sex offenses.
Nettles is the second coach in Wicomico County to be charged with a sex crime this year. Former Wicomico High School volleyball coach Steven Mark Kiggins of Hebron was charged and later pleaded guilty to sex abuse of a minor.
Kiggins was sentenced to four years in prison.
The maximum penalty Nettles could face for child abuse by a custodian is 15 years in prison. He could also face a maximum penalty of 10 years if convicted of third-degree sex offense and each count of fourth-degree sex offense holds a one-year sentence if he is found guilty.
Pamela Correa, child advocacy center prosecutor for the State's Attorney's Office, is also expected to narrow the time frame during which the alleged abuse took place.
"Obviously we can't defend giving that kind of time frame," Yeager said.
In previously filed charging documents, Nettles was alleged to have committed the crimes against victim one between Aug. 1, 1997, and June 30, 2001. The alleged acts against victim two were reported to have taken place between Jan. 1, and Dec. 30, 1998, according to court documents.
Because at least one of the alleged acts took place at about midnight, Correa said she would amend the charging documents with a smaller time frame, however it would likely include two days.
Nettles is scheduled to have his first trial on Aug. 28 and his second on Sept. 11.

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