Second Marion County coach gets judicial diversion

Second Marion County coach gets judicial diversion

January 24th, 2014 by Ben Benton in Local - Breaking News

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/Times Free Press.

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 bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569.