Two coaches charged with murder in basketball player’s death after practice
Two basketball coaches in Georgia have been charged with murdering a 16-year-old girl after she died following an outdoor practice in extreme heat, NBC News reported Wednesday.
Larosa Maria Walker-Asekere and Dwight Broom Palmer have been charged with second-degree murder, second-degree child cruelty, involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct, according to the news outlet.
A Clayton County grand jury returned an indictment charging the two in connection to the August 2019 death of Imani Bell, a student at Elite Scholars Academy who died after an outdoor girls’ basketball practice. The heat index in the Jonesboro area that day, which is where the school is located, reached 106 to 108 degrees.
Bell reportedly collapsed while running up the football stadium steps during a conditioning drill. She was quickly taken to a hospital where she later died from heat-related cardiac arrest and kidney failure, court documents state, according to NBC.
Walker-Asekere, the head coach, and Broom, an assistant coach, were both present at the practice and were in charge of the high school students, the family’s attorney Justin Miller said, according to NBC.
“The incident in question did not have to happen,” Miller said.
Chris Stewart, another family attorney, added that there was a heat advisory the day the practice was held, which warned that all outdoor activities should be limited due to the heat.
Bell’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the school administrators in February.
“We are everyday learning to live with the loss of our daughter,” Imani Bell’s mother, Dorian Bell, said at a February press conference. “Realizing that this is nothing that will ever go away, that it will always be here, a piece of me is missing, but we’re learning to live. … We just want closure in this whole situation.”
It is unclear if the coaches are still employed at the school.