Hamilton Co. D.A. Neal Pinkston Speaks Regarding Ooltewah Assault Investigation
(WTVC) Chattanooga —
Hamilton Co. D.A. Neal Pinkston
NewsChannel 9 speaks with Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston for the first time since the Ooltewah assault investigation began. While he couldn't speak much about the case, we learned more about why he pushed for information to be public, how the community has responded to him, and what will happen moving forward.
"Any time kids can't go to school or enjoy themselves without fear of violence, it is not a good thing. It's troubling," said Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston.
District Attorney Neal Pinkston says since the Ooltewah assault investigation began, people have been coming forward district-wide, regarding individual cases of bullying.
"Various people have reported to us past incidences at various schools ... I would say easily 10," said Pinkston.
People are not just going to the District Attorney's office. Thursday night at the Hamilton County School Board meeting, parents like Tonya McBryar, spoke about their children's situations to us.
"He was left with a brain injury; he was beaten repeatedly; he was knocked unconscious with the first blow," said Tonya McBryar, a mother of a student who was bullied.
She said her son Brandon was bullied on the bus when he was 14-years-old.
"To stand up to bullying - we used to sit at the dinner table and I would tell my kids this [how to stand up to bullying] and never think my kid would be in a situation like this," said McBryar.
We also asked Pinkston why he pushed to make these records public without an official request.
"We filed a motion for public access due to the overwhelming public interest in the situation," said Pinkston.
Judge Philyaw granted that motion, allowing public access and inspection of records.
"In certain situations the more information the public has, the better off the community is," said Pinkston.
According to a Hamilton County Juvenile Court filing, the defendants - Head Coach Andre Montgomery, Assistant Coach Karl Williams and Athletic Director Jesse Nayadley - are summoned to court Thursday morning at 9 a.m. From there, they will plead guilty or not guilty.
"If they plead not guilty then the case will be transferred to the Hamilton County Grand Jury to hear the matter and see if they would be indicted or not. If the grand jury indicted them then they would appear in criminal court and if they didn't then the case would be over," said Pinkston.
Pinkston admits this is a unique process for this type of case.
"Usually they can dispose of us stuff in juvenile court but in this case if you plead not guilty according to the statue the juvenile judge immediately transfers to the grand jury for a hearing," said Pinkston.