The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

June 27, 2014

Charges against coach headed to grand jury

SHARON — A former Sharon High School assistant track coach who police said stabbed the stepfather of a runner during a practice in May will face a Trumbull County grand jury.

George D. Thomas, 53, of 837 Spencer Ave., Sharon, on Thursday waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Trumbull County Eastern District Court in Brookfield.

Judge Robert M. Platt Jr. bound over to Trumbull County Probate Court’s grand jury charges of felonious assault and taking a deadly weapon into a school safety zone.

If Thomas is indicted, the prosecutor will move to dismiss two pending misdemeanor cases against him in connection with an incident with the students, said defense attorney Jerry Ingram.

Because Sharon doesn’t have a regulation track, members of the boys and girls relay teams were preparing for district competition May 13 on Brookfield High School’s track.

Thomas argued with two of his runners, pulled a knife and threatened one of the students and shoved another during practice, police said.

Otis Hickson, 47, the stepfather of one of the students, confronted Thomas. When police arrived, Thomas was holding a knife and Hickson was bleeding from the chest and holding a brick in his hand, police said.

Thomas was arrested and Hickson was treated at St. Elizabeth Health Center, Youngstown, police said.

Sharon’s runners were under the supervision of Thomas and assistant coach Joe Moss, said Michael Calla, superintendent of Sharon schools.

Calla said board members can choose whether to renew the coaches’ contracts.

“Mr. Thomas has been an assistant since 2009 and we have had no concerns or difficulties at all with him,” Calla said last month. “This is unusual and disappointing but the district is taking this seriously because the safety of students is involved.”

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