Apology reduces jail time for man who punched Crooksville coach

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 14, 2002

NEW LEXINGTON, Ohio -- A judge told a man who punched a coach at a high school football game that he can get most of his jail sentence reduced if he apologizes.

Kerry Newlon was sentenced on Friday to 20 days in jail for assaulting Crooksville High School coach Doug Clifford.

Lawrence County Municipal Judge Donald Capper told Newlon, 40, that he wants a sincere apology to the people of the Perry County community of Crooksville and the Lawrence County village of Chesapeake on his desk by Aug. 2.

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He said the apology would enable Newlon to have the sentence cut to three days, beginning Aug. 9.

Newlon, the uncle of a Crooksville player, hit Clifford as fans rushed onto the field to celebrate the team's victory over Chesapeake High School in November.

Newlon and his brother, New Lexington Police Chief Jeffrey Newlon, were upset that the player did not see more action during the game.

Jeffrey Newlon was not charged.

Capper found Kerry Newlon guilty in April of assault. The judge said he did not believe Newlon's contention that Clifford punched Jeffrey Newlon in the back of the head before Kerry Newlon tackled him.

An assistant coach testified that Kerry Newlon repeatedly punched Clifford as the two men grappled on the ground.

Besides the jail time, Capper fined Newlon $355 and ordered him to reimburse Clifford for medical expenses. The Associated Press