Two high school basketball coaches have been indicted by a grand jury in the 2019 heatstroke death of a Georgia teen.
Last month, Larosa Maria Walker-Asekere and Dwight Broom Palmer were charged with second-degree murder, second-degree cruelty to children, involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct after 16-year-old Imani Bell collapsed and died of heatstroke while running mandatory outdoor workout drills with her team, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
At the time, the region’s heat index was as high as 106 degrees when Bell was practicing, and the AJC noted that “the school appeared to have violated district policy that requires suspension of outside athletic activities when the heat index hits 95 degrees. Allowing athletic activity in that heat also appeared to violate Georgia High School Association policy, according to a review of district policy.”
Bell’s family had filed a lawsuit against Elite Scholars Academy’s coaches and the school district back in February for wrongful death, pre-death pain and suffering and for funeral and burial expenses.
According to the Washington Post, the family said in the lawsuit that Bell had collapsed after running up the football stadium steps in a required conditioning drill and showing signs of heat illness. At a press conference in February, Imani’s mother said, “We just want closure in this whole situation,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “We need that. That’s a part of our healing.”
At a Wednesday press conference, Eric Bell, her father, said he is happy with the second degree charges being filed in his daughter’s death. “Today is a bittersweet day for the family.”