Two Georgia high school Basketball coaches have been charged with murder following the death of a 16-year-old student. Per reports, the Clayton County grand jury charged Larosa Maria Walker-Asekere and Dwight Broom Palmer with second-degree murder, second-degree child cruelty, involuntary manslaughter, and reckless conduct. Walker-Asekere and Palmer were the head basketball coach and assistant coach at the school where the victim attended.
These said charges are in connection with the death of Imani Bell a student, and member of the girl’s basketball team at Elite Scholars Academy. In August 2019 Bell, died after members of the basketball team practiced outdoors in temperatures that reached the high 90s. On that August day, Bell collapsed after running up the football stadium steps.
Back in February, Bell’s family filed a lawsuit against Elite Scholars Academy, the coaches and the school district for wrongful death, pre-death pain, suffering, and funeral expenses. The lawsuit filed revealed that the teen experienced signs of heat illness and was visibly struggling to perform any of the conditioning drills. Although Bell was not in stable condition to practice, her coaches told her to continue practicing anyway. Right before collapsing, she had signaled out that she was in distress.
According to the lawsuit, a heat advisory was issued in the area where the school is located. The former coaches did not consider the weather, and they did not follow protocols outlined by the Georgia High School Association. On the day of Bell’s practice, they failed to check the readings. Online policies by the organization state that outdoor practices should not be scheduled if a Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) reading exceeds 92.
Since the court hearing for the two coaches, Bell’s father has spoken out about the charges. In a recent press conference, Eric Bell said he is happy with the second-degree charges filed in connection to his daughter’s death. “Today is a bittersweet day for the family”, he said