Nicewarner Pleads Not Guilty to Charges with Trial Date Set for March; Former Coach Can Change Plea

By Jeff Toquinto on January 12, 2018 via

According to WDTV, former Bridgeport High School football Coach and Liberty High School educator Josh Nicewarner pleaded not guilty to all charges in which he was indicted for on Jan. 4.
On that date, the office of Harrison Prosecuting Attorney Rachel Romano provided a list of more than 50 individuals indicted with their charges. Nicewarner was indicted on multiple counts on that list. The counts include one count of distribution to minor of obscene matter; one count of soliciting a minor via computer; one count sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian or person in a position of trust.
All three charges are felonies. Romano confirmed that the arraignment took place today.
This morning, Nicewarner appeared in front of a Harrison County Circuit Court Judge Thomas A. Bedell to enter his plea. Romano said arraignments on the 50-plus individuals indicted earlier this month began yesterday and concluded this morning.
On Jan.4, Romano said during the mass arraignments that take place that judges generally only accept “not guilty” pleas from all those indicted. Typically, it’s often done to keep the courts calendar moving and to establish trial dates. WDTV reported Nicewarner’s trial date is set for March 12.
“An individual can plead guilty between now and the trial date,” said Romano. “If that happens, then the date for an appearance back in court will be changed. In the meantime, regardless of how an individual opts to proceed, things continue. In (Nicewarner’s) case as with the others, motions will be filed by his attorney and motions will be filed by the state in preparation for the trial.”
Nicewarner, 34, was arrested on July 21 and charged at that time with two felony counts. The charges were attempted solicitation of a minor using a computer and the attempted solicitation of a minor using obscene matter. The sexual abuse was not listed on August 8 when Nicewarner waived his preliminary hearing in front of Magistrate Tammy Marple. The minor in question was a 14-year-old female.
After the grand jury, Romano did provide some information regarding the case. Although unable to talk specifics of the case, she did say that “there was no touching or allegations of sexual contact” in the case involving Nicewarner. However, in two of the three charges Romano said that the charges of soliciting via a computer and the abuse charge by a parent, guardian or custodian or person in a position of trust is considered an “attempt” and is treated the same under statute.
Click HERE to see WDTV’s coverage of the story.
Editor’s Note: Photo courtesy of WDTV.

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