LARGO — Attorneys are discussing whether they can reach a plea agreement in the case of a boy accused of stabbing a school police officer.
Defense attorney Barry Cohen said Wednesday that Kenny Stoltman is a young man who almost became an Eagle Scout, but "just exploded" one day as a result of early childhood abuse and later bullying.
The boy was arrested and accused of bringing gasoline bombs to Carwise Middle School on April 5 and stabbing Pinellas Schools police officer Kenneth Fridlund three times with a knife.
The boy previously pleaded guilty to the juvenile charge of possessing firebombs and was scheduled to stand trial in juvenile court in September on charges of attempted murder and battery on a school employee.
But Cohen said Wednesday he could not be ready for trial by then. Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Jack Day rescheduled the trial for the week of Nov. 28, and said the date could be adjusted slightly if both sides agreed.
Assistant State Attorney Conrad Fisher objected to the delay, and fellow prosecutor Joseph Walker, head of the state attorney's juvenile division, later said, "We want this case tried and over with."
Walker said there has been ample time to prepare for trial, and added, "I think this young man would like to have closure. I think the officer would like to have closure."
Cohen said he has been hoping to reach an agreement in the case by negotiating with prosecutors. He said that's much different than adopting an "adversarial" stance and preparing for trial.
Usually, negotiations like this require a defendant to plead guilty or no contest to a juvenile charge. Cohen said he hopes Stoltman, who turns 14 next month, will still have an opportunity to attend college or join the military in the future.
Times Staff Writer Curtis Krueger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8232.