Former Central High School baseball coach Brad Weir accepted a plea deal on Wednesday, Oct. 10 on charges of having sex with a 15-year-old Raider Academy student in 2015.
The deal bypasses Weir’s trial, which was scheduled for November, and sentences him to 8 years in prison.
According to Coffee County District Attorney General Craig Northcott, the victim offered the deal to Weir, who accepted. Weir pleaded guilty to and was charged with statutory rape by an authority figure, which was a class C felony in 2015, (now a class B felony), aggravated statutory rape, a class D felony, and sexual exploitation of a minor (child pornography), a class B felony.
In total, Weir’s agreement means eight years in jail – six years without parole and two years that are eligible for parole. Northcott expects Weir to spend a total of 7-7.5 years in jail.
“I would have liked to get more, but for my victim, I’m happy it’s done so she can move forward,” Northcott said. The Times does not publish the names of victims of sexual crimes.
Weir will serve his sentencing in the Tennessee Department of Correction. He has served the past five months in the Coffee County Jail (May to October after) after his $100,000 bond was revoked for intentionally hitting someone with his car, according to an arrest report from April, 2018. Those five months will be credited toward the total sentence as time served.
Weir will be listed on the sex offender registry for the rest of his life, Northcott said.
Breaking down felony charges
Weir accepted the following for his crimes: six years of jail time without the possibility of parole for the statutory rape by an authority figure charge, which was a class C felony in 2015, and two years with the possibility of parole for sexual exploitation of a minor, a class B felony.
By law, the aggravated statutory rape charge, a class D felony, runs concurrent with the statutory rape by an authority figure so he will not face additional jail time.
Felonies are classified by different classes; each class has a different punishment attached to them.
In Tennessee, a class B felony such as sexual exploitation of a minor, is punishable by eight to 30 years of imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $25,000, according to Tennessee Annotated Code 40-35-111.
A class C felony, such as statutory rape by an authority figure (in 2015), can land the defendant a minimum of three years to a maximum of 15 years in jail, as well as fines of up to $10,000, according to Tennessee Annotated Code 40-35-111. Because Weir was charged when statutory rape by an authority figure was considered a class C felony by the state of Tennessee, the charge was treated like a class C felony.
Aggravated statutory rape, a class D felony, is punishable by 2-12 years in prison and a fine that cannot exceed $5,000.
Had Weir gone to trial and been found guilty, he may have been facing a minimum of 11 years in jail and a maximum of 45 years.
Weir came to Coffee County in 2014 seeking a coaching position at Coffee County Central High School. He had 16 years of coaching experience in Georgia under his belt, 15 of which were as a head coach. After hiring him, former athletic director Richard Skipper said Weir’s references made him stand out from the other candidates. Weir was hired on May 20, 2014.
After Weir was arrested in February of 2015, the Manchester Times conducted an investigation that uncovered several red flags in Weir’s past, including six separate one-year stints as head coach in different schools in Georgia despite mostly winning records, one of which included Weir sending inappropriate text messages to a student, according to public records and on-the-record comments obtained in the Times investigation.
The text messages occurred when Weir was at Irwin County High School during the 2013-14 school year. Gary Paulk, a 21-year veteran of the Irwin County Board of Education, told the Times in 2015 that the school board had evidence of Weir inappropriately texting a female student.
“We were concerned about text messages a teacher reported to us,” said Paulk in 2015. The board held a closed executive session to discuss the issue and decided to not rehire Weir in March 2014.
Before taking the job at Irwin County, Weir was head baseball coach in Dade County, Ga., where he coached a single game before abruptly resigning, penning a handwritten, 14-word letter of resignation that cited “health reasons.”
Dade County was not listed on the resume Weir submitted to Coffee County, but it was listed in his official application.
According to the Times investigation, which published in 2015, Weir’s resume included Eastside High School, Georgia (2011-2012), Brantley County High School, Georgia (2007-2008), Glynn Middle School, Georgia, (2006-2007) and Bradwell Institute, Georgia (2003-2004), and one year as an assistant coach at Lakeview Fort-Oglethorpe High School in Georgia. His longest tenure at any coaching stop was three years in two separate locations: at Wayne County, Georgia (2008-2011) and McIntosh County Academy, Georgia (2000-2003). He also had a history of being disciplined by the Georgia athletics association, being suspended for six games and was ejected from at least three games.
When hired by Coffee County in May 2014, Skipper indicated that he did not receive any warning signs or red flags from any school officials in Georgia. However, the Times investigation revealed at least three references mentioned some sort of issue with Weir and women.
Less than a year after being hired by Coffee County, Weir was arrested by Manchester police on February 3, 2015. The arrest was prompted by Northcott, who claimed he had evidence that Weir had sex with a 15-year-old student from Raider Academy at his residence. The victim was a freshman at the time of the incident. Weir was the physical education teacher at the school. He was arrested just a week before he was to conduct his first official practice. He did coach the Raiders through their summer and fall workouts.
Former Manchester Police Department chief investigator Billy Butler said there were text messages and pictures going back and forth between Weir and the student.
After Weir’s arrest, he was suspended without pay from all employment in the school district. He was suspended before he could coach a single baseball game. The school did not renew his contract and terminated his employment.
In June 2015, the Coffee County grand jury indicted Weir on one count of statutory rape by an authority figure, one count of aggravated rape, one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, seven counts of especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor and six counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. He was released on $100,000 bond.
Multiple trial delays and additional arrests
The court case that would decide Weir’s fate was delayed multiple times.
He was set to stand trial on March 19, 2018, but an unknown assailant allegedly shot Weir in the leg the night before the court date. His court date was rescheduled for mid-May, but because Weir was on prescription pain medications, his trial was delayed to June 18.
On Sunday, April 22, Weir was arrested by the Hamilton County Sheriff Department on charges of aggravated assault, resisting arrests and assaulting a police officer. Weir was allegedly taking photos of a home – at this time, Weir was employed by Real Estate Solutions Group to take photos of foreclosed and bankrupt homes – when Travis Goccia approached Weir, who was in his mother’s car.
When Goccia began to question Weir about taking photos, Weir allegedly threatened Goccia before hitting him with the car and leaving the scene.
Hamilton County Police visited Weir’s home the same night of the incident between 10-11 p.m. Officers found Weir in his bedroom. Weir allegedly resisted arrest by refusing to allow officers to handcuff him. Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department deputy Aaron Yeargan and another officer managed to get one handcuff on the 47-year-old, before he allegedly jerked his hand away, causing the handcuffs to slip and cut Yeargan’s hand.
Weir was brought to jail, where his mother posted his $100,000 bond.
Northcott took Weir to court on May 11 to attempt to revoke Weir’s bond on the grounds that he was not fit to remain free while waiting his trial date for statutory rape. Judge Vanessa Jackson sided with Northcott and revoked Weir’s $100,000 bond.
Weir was to remain in Coffee County Jail until his June court date.
However, June 18 wasn’t to be either – Northcott had a medical emergency in the family and would not be available to represent the victim. The date was postponed until November.
On Oct. 10, Weir accepted the plea deal and will remain in the Tennessee Department of Correction for 7-8 years, depending on parole.