The trial of Ken Higbee, former Pahranagat Valley head football coach and former principal at C.O. Bastian High School in Caliente has been set for next June.
Lincoln County District Attorney Daniel Hooge said Higbee’s arraignment was held Aug. 11 in the 7th Judicial District Court in Pioche before Judge Steven Dobrescu. He entered a not guilty plea.
Hooge said the trial date was originally set in April but Judge Dobrescu contacted him earlier and said his calendar was already full next April and moved the trial to June.
In addition, Hooge said charges are being dismissed against Deanna L. Jenkins of Alamo, in connection with the same case. Instead, he said, she will appear as a witness for the prosecution.
Higbee was charged April 10 with a 225-count criminal complaint that includes one count of theft, according to records from Meadow Valley Justice Court in Pioche. He has a total of 76 felony counts and 149 gross misdemeanor counts.
Jenkins was charged at the same time with 150 counts: one Class D felony, and all the rest gross misdemeanors, in which she “knowingly falsified the account (used by Higbee) or made false entries in the account regarding money spent or property received OR fraudulently altered, falsified or concealed records in the account.”
Higbee’s attorney, Brett Whipple of Las Vegas, has said, “At the end of the day, he never put a dollar in his own pocket. They’re really making a mountain out of a molehill here. It’s truly outrageous.” Higbee himself has consistently declined comment, instead referring questions to Whipple.
According to the criminal complaint, Higbee was entrusted with a debit card, credit card, and checkbook to spend for the benefit of students at C.O. Bastian but instead used them to deprive the students of funds. The crimes he is charged with in the complaint occurred between January 2012 and December 2015.
Sgt. Jeffrey Jourdan of the Nevada Department of Public Safety had prepared a lengthy affidavit in support of the complaint. He wrote, “The embezzled funds were used to purchase a variety of items, including but not limited to sports equipment, sporting goods items, sports clothing, sports shoes, tools, welding supplies, household items, electronics, and various other items.” According to the affidavit, some of the items were allegedly used for Higbee’s personal use.
The affidavit also alleges that some of the items “were purchased for, and located at, the Pahranagat Valley High School.” However, many of the items could not be located.
Whipple has said, “He (Higbee) should probably not have transferred some of the equipment from one school to the other, but he never put a dime in his pocket. Everything that he did was not for him personally, but for the community.”