Archive for Friday, July 7, 2006

Wichita basketball player in video charged with battery

July 7, 2006


Footage of the brawl

Dale Vestal's video of his son, Coulter, being beaten at the Mid America Youth Basketball tournament in March in Newton. Enlarge video

— A Wichita boy caught on video hitting another 14-year-old during a basketball game has been charged with misdemeanor battery.

The case drew national attention after the father of the boy who was hit during the March 26 game in Newton released a home video to the media.

Harvey County Attorney David Yoder, who filed the charge Thursday, said the boy will be tried as a juvenile. Because of his age, the boy's name was not released.

Dale Vestal, whose son Coulter was playing for the Lawrence Jayhawks in a Mid America Youth Basketball tournament, released the video to the media because he said he was unhappy with the lack of action taken by prosecutors in the case.

The video shows Coulter and the player for the Wichita Showtime exchanging elbows as they run down the floor during the game. Then the Wichita player grabs Vestal around the neck and throws him to the court, pummeling the motionless teen before coaches from both teams intervene.

The boy could be sentenced to up to 28 days in a juvenile facility, Yoder said.


OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years ago

YES! Even in Newton, the D.A. had to wonder if "maybe" a crime had been committed.

This kid better hope he doesn't get a jury trial. That tape is "prejudicial" in that he has NO chance.

ronwell_dobbs 11 years ago

This will probably be good for the perp's media bio during the NBA draft.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years ago

"The boy could be sentenced to up to 28 days in a juvenile facility, Yoder said."

He should be sentenced to serve those days during basketball season.

betti81 11 years ago

oh, boo hoo my kid got his ss kicked. i wonder how many kids are beating up Coulter now on a regular basis. i would be so embarrassed to have a tape of my ss gettin' kicked on national t.v.

dawatts 11 years ago

betti81...are you crazy? Coulter was blind sided by the other kid and then pounded on while he was unconscious on the floor. The other kid should be banned from sports and get some anger management. He's a case and obviously, you are too!

miker 11 years ago

uh , Betti....I don't think you're aware Coulter suffered a broken neck while playing football the previous year , from another cheapshot / suckerpunch. I certainly would press charges against a future MU player. Coulter is an outstanding athlete & lives for for athletics , baseball , basketball & formerly football. He is an excellent athlete & built like a Mack truck. If it was a fair fight , he would've taken the thug in a second. His parents are very aware of what can happen , but they shouldn't have to put up with thuggery. I think you should be embarrassed for being a twit-nit ( boo hoo , sorry for you ). Keep your ignorance blissfully at bay. How does your written sucker punch taste ? miker

Rick Aldrich 11 years ago

the video speaks for itself. the macho boy was way out of control and should be punished to the max. and yes i am a parent. but a smack on the juvinile hand and off we go. so sad.

acg 11 years ago

Betti, WTH? It would be one thing had the kids exchanged blows on the court, but that little jerk pummeled him after he was unconscious. That's not a school yard fight. Those are the actions of an angry, hateful little coward who needs, now, to be put in his place before he gets bigger and meaner and takes his aggression out in more violent ways. I'm all for parents not getting involved in minor scuffles between youths but this was waaaaayyyyy over the line.

Rick Aldrich 11 years ago

P.S. betti81 needs panenting counseling. or her --- kick on national tv.

mom_of_three 11 years ago

FYI - the Wichita team was suspended for the rest of the MAYB spring season (about 2 months) and the boy was suspended for two games by the coach. it will be interesting to see what the Wichita paper prints. No one has indicated that the other player has done this before. It could be a case of having a bad day, and retaliation, but that still isn't an excuse for taking a cheap shot, and hitting someone when they are unconcious. Let's hope he gets some couseling and learns from this.
Even he admitted he made a mistake and wanted to apologize (according to his coach), so he obviously knew the error of his ways.

betti81 11 years ago

hey now, i am not saying the kid shouldn't be punished. and punished he will be. the dad of the other kid seems a bit over the top, that's all. i understand he wants the kid who hurt his kid dealt with. (and if that was my kid on the tape he would be in a heck of a lot of trouble--including no more basketball.) I am sorry to hear the Coulter has been injured before. I was making no judgement about him or what happened, just that I would be incredibly embarrased about what happened in the first place and then to have it blasted on national television, uugh.

and i am NOT an idiot nor am i a self-glossing know it all who lives in wichita. the name calling on these comment sections is absolutely juvenile.

i_have_only_valid_opinions 11 years ago


If you didn't mean what it sounded like you meant, then you need to choose your words better, much better, because it sounded pretty bad. Your "boo hoo" comment was immature and I'm sure hurtful to the family and anyone who has been in a similar situation. Try getting your a$$ beat and knocked out cold and we'll see who's boo hooing.

Scott Drummond 11 years ago

I say put the thug out of our misery quickly. Give him his jail time & then let him go on with the misery life has in store for him. I bet some part of him & his ilk are enjoying all the exposure of that tape being played again and again. Screw that, don't give them the pleasure. Nobody gave a crap about his meaningless life before he jumped his vicitim, and nobody should give a damn now. I've seen more than enough of this little creep to last my whole life. Give him some jail time & then let him sink back in to his well deserved obscurity in the ghettos of Wichita.

esubrett 11 years ago

Betti: Don't apologize for your comments only because you have been attacked. Since you said something as stupid as what you said, back it up. I am not calling you out and I in no way agree with your warped take on the situation all I am saying is if you are going to say something that bold and idiotic don't start apologizing the minute someone questions you. Explain yourself. It probably won't help but I would like to hear an explanation.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years ago

"the name calling on these comment sections is absolutely juvenile"

Sometimes people are not very fair on these boards, however, you got a lot less grief than you asked for. The reason why things like this happen is because of attitudes like the one you expressed.

"the dad of the other kid seems a bit over the top"

I say give him Dad of the Year Award. He demanded justice for his kid because his kid was victimized. He wouldn't let up. He took it all the way to CNN. I want to be like that guy for my kid. Did you see the tape? That was no playground scuffle. He was pounding a kid who was unconcious. Without intervention, that may have turned into homicide.

The only appropriate post from you, Betti, would be "I shouldn't have posted ANY of that". If you keep defending "what you really meant to say", these people will rip you a new one. A big new one. Your words were more insensitive than their name-calling, so you really created a problem for yourself.

betti81 11 years ago


i am not backing down from my "warped" take, i am apologizing for my word choice.

i have seen the tape, many times (one can't escape it). The entire basketball team and the player were punished for the "incident". that was not good enough for the father (which is fine and his right). what i do not agree with is pandering ones cause to the media in an attempt to strong arm a da into pressing charges. that is what i feel happened here.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years ago

Years ago, a friend of mine sent me an AUTOINSULT.EXE. I haven't had much use for it of late.

Let's see what it generates for Betti (just for kicks, please don't take this personally, Betti).

1) You hallucinating mound of foreign knob cheese.

2) You irrational truckload of mealy frog fat.

3) You sycophantic eruption of gross weasel warts.

Those aren't so good. Let's put it on the Shakespearian setting and see what we get...

A) Thou dissembling, fen-sucked horn-beast.

B) Thou hideous, crook-pated death-token.

C) Thou beslubbering, hedge-born wagtail. (That one was pretty good.)

jennifermarti 11 years ago

When I saw the tape it looked to me like the boy from Lawrence was throwing some pretty good elbows around. Maybe he shouldn't have been taking cheap shots if he wasn't ready to get a couple back.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years ago

"what i do not agree with is pandering ones cause to the media in an attempt to strong arm a da into pressing charges"

It should occur to you that the "shame" lies with the puncher and the lazy D.A., not with the victim's family.

You didn't take my advice. You should reconsider. Continuing to post defensively after totally "stepping in it" will only get them stirred up. Like the Incredible Hulk, you have "made them angry" and they are about to turn green and ugly on you, you beslubbering, hedge-born wagtail.

Jamesaust 11 years ago

"This kid better hope he doesn't get a jury trial."

Maybe there's a juvie attorney out there who can clarify, but the U.S. Supreme Court held in McKeiver v. Penn. in 1971 that juveniles do not have a 6th Amendment right to trial by jury, and I don't believe that Kansas has extended any such right either.

Rather, KSA 38-1656 allows the trial judge discretion in felony cases to have a jury trial (unless the trial is in adult court).

As a side note, the interesting cases that come up involving juveniles and jury trials happen in state with "3 strikes" laws and such, where there is a question whether juvenile adjudications without jury trial should count.

esubrett 11 years ago

Elbows happen in basketball. My jaw still pops when I chew due to a hopefully inadvertent elbow I received. Did I respond by close lining the kid and pounding on his limp body? No. This kid is a criminal that will learn nothing from these 28 days in a juvenile facility.

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

It's about time. I hope the little punk has to pay a huge fine, too. Most teenagers hate getting hit in the allowance more than anything else.

Betti, if some little thug had jumped your darling child and beat him while he was unconscious (not a fair fight at all, in my opinion), would you just sit there and say that losing out on a few games of basketball was the only action that needed to be taken?

I don't think so.

The thug committed a criminal act. Let him take his lumps in court.

betti81 11 years ago

"Maybe he shouldn't have been taking cheap shots if he wasn't ready to get a couple back."

and, i am signing off to head home, so if anyone wants to keep attacking my post, cool, but don't expect any more responses. maybe next time.

i_have_only_valid_opinions 11 years ago

It's pretty apparent that the vast majority of us have the same response to this situation - that it is a complete shame that a kid this age already has this much hate and rage, and that it is obviously an action that needs to be punished.

A 2 game suspension and possible 28 days in juvie aren't going to change him. He needs to be out of basketball for at least half a season, mandatory counseling and absolutely required to make a public and written apology to the other kid, his team, his own team and all families involved.

I don't know that 28 days in juvie will do any good. That's not even long enough for him to get past the "anger" stage before he's back home.

i_have_only_valid_opinions 11 years ago

bett81 must be leaving work early to take her son to court for beating up a defenseless kid in a basketball game! :)

jennifermarti 11 years ago

Does anyone know anything about this boy from Wichita or is everyone just assuming because he's black that he is a "thug" ?

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

It doesn't have anything to do with him being black. Why is everyone so anxious to jump on the race bandwagon? Geez...

I am assuming that he's a thug because of his behavior. What are you assuming?

I call him a thug because he deliberately beat up another kid, and even though he was unconscious after the first punch, he continued to beat him until adults interevened.

I would call any person who exhibits this type of behavior a thug, regardless of their color, or lack thereof, whether they were albino, black, white, or pea-green purple.

Get over the race thing, already.

i_have_only_valid_opinions 11 years ago

Do you have to "assume" a kid is a thug after he knocks thet sh!t out of someone like that? No one played the race card that I saw. And believe me, people here aren't shy. If they thought that they would say it. But, I guess you were the one to say it first.

esubrett 11 years ago

We are assuming he is a thug because he beat another kid while he was obviously unconscious. Race has nothing to do with it.

jennifermarti 11 years ago

"thug jumped your darling child" give me a break. He wasn't acting like much of a darling and he was playing way too physical. I am not saying he deserved it, but he is not totally innocent either.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

not a thug just a kid headed for trouble you also know if this kid had been white the yelling and screaming would have been loud and it would have said racisim, and the team and city would have been threatened with all sort of lawsuits.

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

I've seen many a physical basketball game, and yet I've never seen this kind of stuff happen.

When you're racing down the court and your main objective is to get and keep the ball, that's what your eye is on...the ball. Yes, elbows and things happen in basketball games. Most of the time it's totally accidental, as I think it was here.

Regardless, even if the other kid got hit with an elbow, that doesn't give him any excuse for beating someone up, especially to the point of unconsciousness and beyond.

I'm sure we all come across jerks all the time in the workplace. I know I do. But that doesn't give us the right to beat them up just because we're mad.

How many people have you beat up lately because they annoyed you or made you mad, jennifer?

If this kid gets away with it, then he will have been taught that any time he gets angry, for whatever reason, justified or not, he can just deal with it by beating someone up.

Not a lesson I would want to teach my kid.

jennifermarti 11 years ago

I am not saying the kid shouldn't be punished, but don't act like the other boy did nothing wrong. The officials should have put a stop to this in the beginning, because you know this had been escalating throughout the game instead of letting it get to the point it did. The kid has anger issues there is no doubt about that, but he's not the only one that did something wrong.

jennifermarti 11 years ago

"check yourself princess" are you in highschool felix? Or just a adult with bad language skills?

esubrett 11 years ago

There was no time for this to escalate during the game. This incident happened within five minutes of tip-off.

i_have_only_valid_opinions 11 years ago

jennifermarti: Unless you saw the game, or more of it than we all have, you cannot make the judgement that this was escalating throughout the entire game. If it had been, I'm sure the other coaches and parents would have come out and spoken up about it by now. But they haven't. Stop assuming.

mom_of_three 11 years ago

Have many of you ever watched a MAYB game? The games have a running clock, and if a foul is called, the clock DOESN'T stop. Needless to say, the refs don't call a lot of fouls because it stops play. And the games can get physical, kids get hurt, and THEN fouls get called. There were elbows, and there was clearing out from under the basket. The kids also looked tangled.
No, the other player shouldn't have hit Coulter like he did. From reading about this in the Wichita paper, the juvenile admits he made a mistake and wanted to apologize after the game. The coach thought it would be better if the kid waited. The kids' actions also seem out of character for this kid. He lost his temper, he wants to make amends, he will be punished for his actions, and he knows he did wrong.
Geez, since he is admitting his mistakes, he shouldn't be punished the rest of his life for that mistake. It doesn't make him a hood, or any of the other names people on the forum are calling him. You don't even know him.
Neither do I, but I am getting information from all sources before I make a decision, and not just one article from one paper.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

jennifermarti bball is a physical game and elbow happen that is the game the beating on the tape is not.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years ago

"but I am getting information from all sources"

Umm... that may be an exaggeration. All sources?

jennifermarti 11 years ago

THANK YOU mom of three- someone finally making some sense! I hope everyone who has said terrible things about this kid and made terrible comments on where he's going in life read your post!!!

He made a mistake and wants to apologize and will be punished-get over it!!!

i_have_only_valid_opinions 11 years ago


You assume we are all only reading the LJW, and that you are the only one with enough smarts to looks elsewhere. Wrong! Bad assumption.

Kids learn fast that the first thing they do when they screw up is to burst out a half-a$$ed apology to try and smooth things over before they get in trouble. His apology probably wasn't sincere and his punishment may not be enough to deter him from lashing out in the future lashing.

Don't be so naive.

i_have_only_valid_opinions 11 years ago

Surprise!!! mom_of_three and jennifermarti agree on this!

Way to back up a poor argument with another poor argument jennifer! That shows alot of smarts.

jennifermarti 11 years ago

"his apology probably wasn't sincere" that sounds like a bad assumption to me. Were you there to hear it or just assuming???

jennifermarti 11 years ago

So now you are encouraging violence that's really nice-you must be in highschool. Be careful your mommy probably doesn't want you using her computer. You should be outside playing with the rest of the tikes-try not to beat them up and blame it on someone else!!

i_have_only_valid_opinions 11 years ago

Of course he's going to apologize in some way because he knew he had to do damage control or he wouldn't be able to play b-ball for a long time. Are you that old that you don't remember how kids think?

jennifermarti 11 years ago

You must be any expert on basketball felix. And your right I don't know about about getting beat up. With a name like felix I am sure you are the expert on that too...

princess 11 years ago

Hmmmm....felixramirez90...1990,huh. That would make you what...16. You are a friend of the victim, no?

jennifermarti 11 years ago

If you want an opinion on how highschool kids think-direct those questions to felix he's in highschool or maybe junior high??

princess 11 years ago

jennifer, you aren't exactly acting like an adult right now either.

Both of you need to go to your rooms and think about what you have done.

jennifermarti 11 years ago

Are you kidding 16? Okay now I know why you sound so young and stupid because you are!!!! You don't have a clue!

jennifermarti 11 years ago

Believe me they have plenty of guidance. It doesn't really seem like you have had much. Calling names and encouraging violence your parents should be so proud!!!

princess 11 years ago

felix, you silly young thing. I actually side entirely with the victim on this one, so you see we are on the same side. I was merely pointing out the obvious. Try a different screen name next time you want to act like a big man.

jennifermarti 11 years ago

And don't forget dishonest- you said you weren't in highschool remember?

jennifermarti 11 years ago

Yea felix cut the big man act -you're just a little guy.

princess 11 years ago

jennifer, seriously you must stop now. You are an adult and you know now for certain that he is a child. You have to leave him alone and ignore him now.

Otherwise, you are just having a school yard name calling match with a kid. Ick.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years ago

Yeah, why argue with a child? Adults over-indulging him is probably why he uses such language in public with impunity. Just let it (him) go. Let him go back to playing tetherball with Napoleon.

Brian Dick 11 years ago

T.I.E. ladies! I actually know who this Felix guy is and he's a little older than you all think. Very smart man, owns his own business. I'll leave the name out just to be on the safe side though. If it makes you feel any better, I'm sure you've done business through him before!! haha

i_have_only_valid_opinions 11 years ago


Hey Ladies - "I caught you a delicious bass and i like your sleeves, theyre real big."

What? I don't get it.

Without naming names, what type of business do you own?

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

people believe it or not this is not about you but the two kids involved in the incedent, not the children in here.

jennifermarti 11 years ago

He doesn't own a business! Are you kidding?? He's a little boy with a bad attitude and disgusting mouth. Soon his parents will be home and we will all be put out of this misery of putting up with him.

GardenMomma 11 years ago

"Posted by jennifermarti (anonymous) on July 7, 2006 at 2:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

When I saw the tape it looked to me like the boy from Lawrence was throwing some pretty good elbows around. Maybe he shouldn't have been taking cheap shots if he wasn't ready to get a couple back."

Did you happen to see the tape? A couple of cheap shots WERE exchanged and then the boy was clotheslined and thrown to the ground (no movement from the downed player at this point) then the offending player punched him in the head several times. It was completely uncalled for. Way beyond the scope of a little elbow exchanging.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years ago

"Maybe, just maybe, the kid has lived through some tough things himself. Therefore, I dont think they should just send the kid off to juvy. He should be forced to get anger management counseling."

He probably has had some tough times. And, most likely he'll get that anger management counseling in juvie. Anger management, along with 28 days to consider what happened.

What I find amazing is that kids will generally behave one way when parents/teachers are present, and another way when not present. He did this at a public sporting event while wearing a team uniform His coach was watching, and maybe his parents. This wasn't midnight in front of the Granada, or on a playground. This happened in an evironment where he should have been able to understand the need for control and discipline. If he'll commit this act in this setting, what kind of behavior is he capable of when unsupervised? He'll be an adult in a couple of years. Then he really might be standing in front of the Granada at midnight with someone "throwing elbows", and something worse happens...

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

I have never heard of a case of anger manegment classes working. AMost people go into these under forced circumstances and do not want to be there nor listen or care what anyone has to say, and teenage boy with attitude.. not gonna work maybe a little more time in juv. but then most come out worse so who knows. Maybe he was just having a bad day?? HAHAHA thinl oldenuf has this one right.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years ago

I don't know. I think some teens are very maleable. This may have been an isolated incident, a "warning" of possible future problems. I'd say that it's too soon to write him off.

dizzy_from_your_spin 11 years ago

I'd sure prefer to see a tape of the whole game before declaring the incident totally unprovoked and diagnosing anger management issues.

BriarFox 11 years ago

What do you people not get?

If this kid is not prosecuted then it sends a horrific message that they can assault any player without any repercussions. Ask Coach Self what would happen if one of his players clothes lined another player? I truly hope Betti81 is not a parent, if so SRS needs to be called and parenting classes are in order!!!!!

These are young people that need to be taught the rules and God forbid parents have to do they're job and not blame everyone else. The kid admitted to elbowing but that does not justify a beating.

justsomewench 11 years ago

this kid should also be held accountable for paying all associated medical and other expenses incurred from this fight just as he would if he were an adult. when he started receiving collection notices, small claims lawsuits, etc. because his lawn mowing and dishwashing wasn't paying the bills in a timely manner or having to look at the possibility of having to delay college in lieu of a full-time job to pay off his debts, then he could fully experience another very real aspect about the ramifications of his actions.

taking away his Xbox for 28 days is the court's choice, fine. his own parents still bear the responsibility of making sure this message gets through and only has to be delivered once.

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