Pair of hazing suspects get trial dates
BLACKFOOT — Two of the five former Blackfoot High School athletes charged with various criminal offenses that occurred a year ago during basketball season are scheduled to appear in court in Bingham County next month for a jury trial. The juvenile also charged is scheduled for trial later this month.
Magistrate Judge Charles Roos said he would do whatever necessary to ensure a trial would occur next month, saying that he believes it is in the best interest of the community to have a speedy trial.
"We're going to try this case in March," Roos said.
Nathan Walker, who is charged with five counts of misdemeanor false imprisonment and one count of aiding and abetting, is scheduled to appear for a jury trial March 8-11.
"There have been some negotiations but not a resolution," Walker's attorney Steve Blaser told Roos during the pretrial conference Tuesday.
A second jury trial has been scheduled for March 22-25 for Logan Chidester, who faces six misdemeanor charges of false imprisonment and two counts of battery.
Dean Brandstetter, the attorney representing Anthony Clarke, was not present at the pretrial hearing, but Prosecutor Randy Smith said they are near reaching a plea agreement with Clarke.
"There has been several discussions back and forth," Smith said. "We're getting pretty close to a deal getting reached."
A pretrial conference regarding Clarke's case is scheduled for Feb. 16.
Roos suggested the two trials be moved to Bonneville County, but was opposed by both the prosecution and defense.
"There hasn't been a motion made," Smith said, later adding that is is premature to change the trial venue before attempting to select a jury.
"There are people in this community that aren't associated with Blackfoot," Smith said.
Both defense attorneys Blaser and Justin Oleson said they were concerned with having the trial in Bonneville County, given the rivalries between the two communities.
Roos agreed to attempt having the trials in Bingham County, despite his belief that six jurors for each case cannot be found here.
"I don't think we can get a jury here," Roos said. "My perception is that this community is so tainted."
The fifth individual charged, Tyson Katseanes, pleaded guilty last month to one count of misdemeanor battery and was sentenced to 30 days suspended jail and one overnight stay in the Bingham County jail. The 30 days in jail will be withheld if Katseanes abides by the terms and conditions of the agreement.
Katseanes was also sentenced to six months probation, 40 hours of community service and must pay court costs and a $100 fine.
All felony charges facing all the individuals have been dismissed.