Attorney seeks to have charges on youth president dismissed by judge

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By The Staff

SHEPHERDSVILLE - The charges that Shelly Strong improperly took money belonging to the Shepherdsville Raiders football program should be dismissed.

That is the request defense attorney Angie Etherton has made of Bullitt Circuit Judge Rodney Burress.

However, the matter, which is set for a Feb. 3 trial date, is being taken under consideration by Burress.

During a recent hearing, Etherton said the charge of theft by unlawful taking should be dismissed against Strong because of various issues.

First, she said her client, who was president of the Shepherdsville Raiders program, appeared in a probable cause hearing and that was delayed so a suppression hearing could be held; however, before the new hearing was held, the matter was taken to the grand jury and Strong was indicted.

She said that her client could have proven her case at the preliminary hearing that no crime had been committed. Instead, it went to the grand jury without the opportunity for Strong to present her case.

Etherton also alleged that the charges were different than the proof provided with no records to show anything was done.

The attorney added that the Greater Bullitt County Youth Football board oversees all the programs and never made any allegations that improper things were being done.

Finally, Etherton said there was no evidence showing that over $300 was taken, which would have made it a felony.

Commonwealth attorney Michael Mann said he knew of no requirement that a probable cause hearing would be required before taking a matter to the grand jury. He said the defendant was not facing prejudice by not having such a hearing.

Testimony may be allowed from a defendant at the grand jury but Mann said there is no right or guarantee that it must happen.

Burress said while interesting arguments, he wanted Etherton to file written documentation allowing him to dismiss the case. Mann would be given time to answer.

Etherton then asked for a gag order against the parties in the case, as well as the media. A similar order was issued in district court, according to the attorney.

She said there had been a lot of media coverage of the case and her client could not get a fair trial. Part of the problem was improper reporting. She said a reported case in Hardin County had been dismissed but that was not reported.

Burress said he could order parties in the case to not talk to the media but he didn’t think he could tell the media how to do its job.

The entire issue was taken under submission awaiting the briefs from each attorney.