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Three Caldwell High School students pleaded guilty to misdemeanor for school bus incident

Four student athletes were originally facing felony charges
Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 11:52 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 11, 2022 at 6:23 PM CST
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CAMERON, Texas (KBTX) - Three of the four Caldwell High School student athletes that were facing felony charges for an incident on a school bus that happened Sept. 21, 2021 have pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Marina Brinkman, Kadie Hartman and Katherine Hart took a plea deal from the DA and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor unlawful restraint. The students will receive a $4,000 fine and one year of deferred adjudication. Sophie Goodman’s case was not heard in court Tuesday.

In November, the three 17-year-olds and one 18-year-old were indicted by a Milam County grand jury, accused of stripping another student on a school bus in September.

Warrants filed for their arrest say the girls forcibly restrained a 14-year-old student on the bus and undressed her as they were returning to Caldwell following a sporting event. They were arrested in October by Milam County authorities on a charge of indecency with a child by exposure.

As part of the deal, the three students will eventually have their records expunged.

Cameras weren’t allowed in the courtroom Tuesday and KBTX’s Clay Falls was the only reporter in the courtroom this morning.

“They were originally charged with indecency with a child, was what they were arrested for and then indicted for organized criminal activity. Part of the plea deal is that the original arrest for indecency with a child as well as organized criminal activity will be allowed to be expunged or obliterated from the record, like it never happened,” said Craig Greaves, Defense Attorney for Kadie Hartman.

He and defense attorney Cameron Reynolds represented two of the students.

“The plea to the unlawful restraint is one year deferred. I think 40 hours of community service. There’s a $4,000 fine. Court costs,” said Greaves.

“I think the judge nailed it when he said this is probably the best for both sides, the best way to resolve this... I think the girls are all remorseful and you know they would never do this again,” said Reynolds, attorney for Marina Brinkman. “I think it’s been a learning lesson, a lesson learned and you just can’t be involved in pranks or any kind of ritual,” said Reynolds.

Kim Cedidla, mother of Kadie Hartman told us they took the plea so that her daughter can return to school.

“They’ve been in DAEP [Disciplinary Alternative Education Program] off campus for around 50 days give or take a few and they need to be in school. This has gone on too long,” said Cedidla. “These children deserve to return to school. They have been treated as if they were guilty from day one.”

The mother said they wanted to recover what is left of the girls’ senior year.

“We took a misdemeanor only to allow these children to return to school to have what’s left of their senior year and they’re going to do just that,” said Cedidla.

Sophie Goodman was also in court Tuesday morning but was not part of that plea agreement. Her family say they are still working with their attorney on an arrangement.

Bill Torrey, the Milam County District Attorney said all three students accepted the plea agreement. Katherine Hart was at 9 a.m. while Marina Brinkman and Kadie Harman were at 11 a.m. Torrey’s office declined further comment on the case as it’s still an open case with one student’s status still pending. County Judge Steve Young presided over the case.

Caldwell ISD declined our request for a TV interview Tuesday but sent KBTX this statement:

In November, 2021, Caldwell ISD completed the investigation of an incident that occurred on a CISD bus. The disciplinary action as a result of the investigation was in accordance with our Student Code of Conduct. Upon receiving confirmation from the Milam County District Attorney of the outcome to the students’ charges, Caldwell ISD will reassess the disciplinary action in accordance with our Student Code of Conduct. Kim Pagach Caldwell ISD Director of Communications

The Milam County District Attorney’s Office also sent this press release Tuesday afternoon:

MARINA PILAR BRINKMAN, 17, of Caldwell, was placed on twelve (12) months Deferred Adjudication with standard conditions of probation including no contact with the victim, 40 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay a $4,000 fine and restitution in an amount to be determined after pleading guilty to a Class A Misdemeanor, UNLAWFUL RESTRAINT

KADIE ROSE HARTMAN, 17, of Caldwell, was placed on twelve (12) months Deferred Adjudication with standard conditions of probation including no contact with the victim, 40 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay a $4,000 fine and restitution in an amount to be determined after pleading guilty to a Class A Misdemeanor, UNLAWFUL RESTRAINT

KATHERINE ALAYNA HART, 18, of Caldwell, was placed on twelve (12) months Deferred Adjudication with standard conditions of probation including no contact with the victim, 40 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay a $4,000 fine and restitution in an amount to be determined after pleading guilty to a Class A Misdemeanor, UNLAWFUL RESTRAINT

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