Judge grants continuance in Clayton County student heat death case

A Clayton County Superior Court Judge on Monday continued the case against two coaches accused in the 2019 heatstroke death of Imani Bell.
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A Clayton County Superior Court Judge on Monday continued the case against two coaches accused in the 2019 heatstroke death of Imani Bell.

A Clayton County judge on Monday granted a continuance of a criminal case against two coaches accused in the heatstroke death of a high school student athlete.

Clayton Superior Court Judge Robert Mack said attorneys for the two coaches accused in the 2019 death of Imani Bell needed more time for discovery in granting the motion. Discovery is a pre-trial procedure where defense and prosecuting attorneys relay evidence to each other that is part of the case.

Larosa Maria Walker-Asekere and Dwight Broom Palmer were indicted by a Clayton County grand jury in July on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree cruelty to children in the death of Imani, a student at Elite Scholars Academy in Jonesboro.

The pair also are charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct.

The grand jury alleged that Asekere and Palmer were responsible for the 16-year-old’s death “by conducting outdoor conditioning training for student athletes in dangerous heat, resulting in the death of Imani Bell due to hyperthermia and rhabdomyolysis,” according to court documents.

Imani collapsed Aug. 13, 2019, while doing outdoor basketball drills at the school as the heat index shot up to 106 degrees.

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