A death in the family has caused Meadow Valley Justice Court Judge Mike Cowley to delay his review and ruling of the evidence presented in the preliminary hearing regarding charges against Pahranagat Valley football coach Ken Higbee.
Defense attorney Brett Whipple said he was informed of the events and that Cowley’s decision could be delayed into July.
The hearing was held from May 30 to June 2 with District Attorney Daniel Hooge presenting the evidence that had been collected in the over one-year investigation by the state attorney general’s office.
However, at the conclusion of the prosecution’s case, defense attorney Brett Whipple informed the court he was not going to present his case nor call any witnesses at that time and would wait until Judge Cowley reviewed the evidence and ruled if there indeed was enough to proceed to trial.
He said, “The entire process of a preliminary hearing is very technical, and I think there are some things that in a technical sense should have happened, but did not, and with that in itself we could demand a dismissal.”
Higbee was charged in April with a 225-count criminal complaint citing he stole about $122,000 from the Lincoln County School District, involving dozens of counts of forgery and misconduct, plus one felony theft charge.
The charges claimed, “The embezzled funds were used to purchase a variety of items, including, but not limited to, sports equipment, sporting good items, sports clothing and shoes, tools, welding equipment, household items, electronics, and various other items, including some that were for personal use.”
Whipple has maintained that Higbee “never put a dime in his own pocket. Everything he did was not for him personally, but for the community, involving all of Lincoln County, the school district, even the gymnasiums. I don’t know anybody that isn’t now, or hasn’t at some time, benefited to some degree.”