Case involving fight that went viral settled

September 22, 2022

By Paul Keane

The Wayne County News

A case involving a videoed fight in the stands of a WCHS football game

was resolved Thursday morning with most of the charges being dismissed.

Jim Nowell and Johnathan Dearman both had their cases heard in front of

Justice Court Judge Ralph Smith Thursday. The cases stemmed from a fight

between the two men during the Aug. 25 football game between Wayne

County High and Quitman High.

Both parties agreed to drop the charges they had filed against one

another, but both still faced charges filed by the Wayne County School


Nowell, the head football coach at Heidelberg High School at the time of

the incident, told the court that his "poor decision" cost him a 32-year

coaching career. He said he would not be able to find work in the

coaching and teaching profession again, and that finding work at all was

difficult after videos of the incident went viral and were posted on

websites such as The New York Post, TMZ and other national outlets.

Nowell said he applied for a job to cut grass for the City of Brandon

but the Board of Aldermen did not approve his hiring.

Dearman said he too made some poor decisions and that he wanted the

entire incident to be over. At the request of County Prosecutor Curtis

Bates, the two men stepped forward and shook hands and shared a hug.

After the case was finished, the two men were seen talking to one

another outside the courtroom.

Judge Smith dismissed the simple assault charges the WCSD filed against

the two men. As for Nowell, Smith found him guilty of the public

profanity and disturbing the peace charges the school district had

filed. He was fined $665.50 and was given the opportunity to have the

charges expunged from his record.

For Dearman, the charges were remanded for 365 days. Smith told Dearman

that as long as he did not have charges brought against him during that

period, the case would be expunged.

For more details and an in-depth story about the case, be sure and pick

up a copy of the Thursday, Sept. 29 edition of The Wayne County News.