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Jury trial set for former South Laurel coach; plea deal could be settled beforehand

From The Times Tribune -

A jury trial has been set for a former South Laurel High School girls basketball coach facing sexual-related charges involving a minor, though his attorney believes the case could be settled beforehand as an agreement with prosecutors may be close.

31 year old Jonathan Lee Walker, appeared in Laurel Circuit Court for a pretrial conference Friday June 21, 2019 where prosecutors asked that the case be set for trial, requesting a date in early August. Walker’s attorney, Conrad Cessna, objected to an August date, informing the court that Walker’s wife is expecting a baby around that time, and asked for the trial to be pushed out until sometime in October.

Following a momentary impasse, attorneys approached the bench and met in a sidebar with Judge Michael Caperton for several minutes. Following the private discussion, prosecutors agreed to set the trial out until later this year.

Judge Caperton set the case for an Oct. 7 trial, also scheduling a final pretrial conference for Oct. 3 at 9 a.m.

During Walker’s court appearance in May, Cessna stated that he had received a plea offer from prosecutors and had extended a counter offer, saying that he was hoping to attempt to resolve the case without having to go to trial. He reiterated that intention during Friday’s proceedings. “We have an offer that probably is not going to improve very much,” said Cessna. “We’re just ironing out some details at this point.”

If an agreement is reached between the two sides, a new court date will be set to allow Walker to enter a plea.

Walker initially came under investigation by the London Police Department concerning the allegations shortly after the date listed in the indictment, though no charges had been filed at that time. He later resigned from his coaching position with the school on Nov. 19, 2018. He had held the position since being hired in 2016.

He was indicted in February by a Laurel County grand jury, formally charging him with first-degree sexual abuse. According to that indictment, the alleged victim would have been 16 years old at the time of the alleged incident.

Walker was allowed to post bond in the case and has not been arrested on his charges. As part of his bond, he is to not have contact with the victim or any other minors, as well as several other non-financial conditions. He remains out on bond

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