published Friday, January 24th, 2014

Second Marion County coach gets judicial diversion

  • photo
    A vandalized shed near the Marion County field house had not been repainted before their prep football game against South Pittsburg at Marion County High School in Jasper, Tenn., in this Nov. 1, 2013, file photo.
    Photo by Doug Strickland.
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A second former Marion County High School assistant football coach has entered a guilty plea to a reduced charge of misdemeanor vandalism under terms of judicial diversion during a hearing this afternoon before General Sessions Court Judge Mark Raines.

Michael Schmitt, who was originally charged with vandalism of $1,000-$10,000, pleaded guilty this afternoon to a charge of vandalism under $500 in the judicial diversion agreement, according to Assistant District Attorney Dave McGovern.

Earlier today, codefendant and fellow former assistant coach Joe Dan Gudger agreed to the same arrangement. Gudger had also been charged with unlawful possession of alcohol on school property but that charge was dismissed as part of the agreement, officials said.

Both men must pay court costs, complete 48 hours of public service and pay restitution to be set later, court officials said. If they complete terms of the judicial diversion over the next 11 months and 29 days, their records will be cleared of the charges.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at or 423-757-6569.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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