Carmel students released after night in jail

Oscar Falodun
Published: .
Updated: .

Lynsay Clutter/Eyewitness News

Hamilton County - The four Carmel High School basketball players charged in an assault investigation were released early Tuesday morning.

All four basketball players spent the night in the Hamilton County Jail after arriving for processing Monday at 5:15 p.m.  They were released on bond just before 4:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Robert Kitzinger, Brandon Hoge, Oscar Faladun, and Scott Laskowski were charged Monday with misdemeanors ranging from battery to criminal recklessness. Hamilton County Jail workers booked each of the players, which included fingerprinting and an arrest photo.

The four players have not been back to Carmel High School since their suspensions at the beginning of the investigation. All four of their parents used the same bondsman, Joe Murello, to get them out of jail.

Murello escorted the four former basketball players out of the Hamilton county jail about 4:30 am. All of them stayed quiet as they got into his SUV and drove away.

The students surrendered to authorities away from the jail to avoid news cameras. Processing took several hours after arriving to the jail Monday evening around 5:00 pm in the back of a transport van. Murello said they were in line behind almost a dozen people getting booked at the jail.

The four players may be out of jail, but they are not out of trouble.

"On a Class A misdemeanor you can face up to one year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine, for a Class B misdemeanor you can face up to 180 days in jail and a $5,000 fine," said Sonia Leerkamp, Hamilton County prosecutor.

Coaches not charged

The grand jury made no recommendation of charges for the coaches. But according to Carmel Superintendent Jeff Swensson at Monday night's school board meeting, a substantial change in leadership was necessary and has been carried out.

The three assistant coaches, who were seen on surveillance videotape sitting aboard the bus at the time of the incident, Justin Blanding, Brandon Lafferman, freshman volunteer coach Michael Bennett, as well as head coach, Mark Galloway, have resigned.

There has been criticism circulating about the school's delay in taking action, and why it has taken until now for those resignations.  But the Carmel High School principal says all the facts had to be investigated first. (See a report issued by the school.)

In their own internal investigation, school administrators say they worked with police and prosecutors, and had talked with dozens of witnesses.  Not all of them were completely forthcoming.

"Almost every witness was a reluctant witnesses. In fact every piece of information that we used to resolve this incident was information we sought out," said Carmel High School Principal John Williams.

As far as the bus videotape, information regarding any action taken by the coaches at the time of incident, if any at all, has not been released.

Eyewitness News has also learned that head coach Mark Galloway has interviewed for the Lafayette Jefferson boys' basketball coaching job.  However, that school has not extended an offer for the position.

Galloway has resigned his job at Carmel, as have freshman coach Justin Blanding, assistant coach Brandon Lafferman, and volunteer freshman assistant Michael Bennett.  Blanding, Lafferman and Bennett were riding the freshman bus the night of January 22.

 See an archive of stories and documents


Tuesday morning in our Carmel basketball coverage, WTHR misidentified one of the coaches who resigned as John Faas.

Coach John Faas was not on the freshman bus and did not resign, nor was he asked to resign.

Eyewitness News regrets the error.