Hamilton High School hazing investigation: plea deal could be in the works

- There are new developments surrounding the Hamilton High School hazing investigation and it all centers on the teen who was charged as an adult in this case.

Nathaniel Thomas' attorney indicated in court Tuesday morning that they want to bring the case to an end soon. This comes just a few days after Hamilton High School officials announced they've hired a new football coach.

Thomas was smiling when he walked out of court.

"We are in the process of setting a settlement conference," said the attorney.

That means a plea deal could be in Thomas' future. He is facing nine felony counts, including aggravated assault, sexual assault, kidnapping and child molestation.

"If this individual were to go to trial, they would be facing an incredible amount of prison time and those other consequences by entering into a plea agreement, you're mitigating the prison time perhaps down to zero," explained Monica Lindstrom, an attorney and legal analyst.

Chandler Police have recommended charges against the school's former football coach, principal and athletic director. Thomas may be asked to testify against them as part of a plea deal.

"It could be the county attorney's office.. this is what they're waiting for to get witnesses to testify as to how the other individuals were involved and then they will go forward and charge them," said Lindstrom.

Meanwhile, the school district confirms Mike Zdebski has been selected as Hamilton's new head football coach. He's from Michigan and on his Twitter page, players tweeted thank you and goodbye notes. In Michigan, Zdebski had to deal with a team hazing incident that resulted in assistant coaches getting fired and players suspended.

Statement from Marcus Williams, Hamilton High School Athletic Director:

"We looked into the issue in 2011 and it didn't measure up to hazing, rather an isolated incident at a private home per information received. I am impressed by the way the situation was handled appropriately."

The school's governing board still has to approve the hire.

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