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Posted on Tue, May 14, 2013 : 6:46 p.m.

Student guilty of swinging crutch in Huron-Pioneer brawl gets 4 months probation

By Kyle Feldscher

The Pioneer High School student who pleaded guilty to a felony assault charge from the Pioneer-Huron High School football brawl received four months probation Tuesday.


Bashir Garain

Courtesy of WSCO

Bashir Garain was sentenced on one count of assault with a dangerous weapon Tuesday. Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge Donald Shelton sentenced Garain to four months of probation under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act. If Garain completes his probation successfully, the conviction will be wiped off his criminal record.

“I’m not a bad person,” Garain said in court Tuesday. “This is just something that happened.”

Garain pleaded guilty April 5 to swinging a crutch toward a group of players during the Oct. 12 brawl. As a part of a plea deal, a second count of assault with a dangerous weapon and two misdemeanor counts of assault and battery were dismissed.

Garain said he plans to graduate from high school next month and then will enroll at Washtenaw Community College to continue his education. Shelton made graduating from high school and enrolling in college a condition of his probation.

He also will be required to pay $1,741 in court costs and fees. He said he plans to get a couple of jobs during the summer to pay those costs off.

Three students were charged in the brawl that began after a confrontation between the two teams’ coaching staffs. The coaches met near midfield and began a verbal altercation that turned physical when assistant coach Vince Wortmann shoved Huron head coach Cory Gildersleeve.

Wortmann was not charged because prosecutors ruled he believed he was defending Pioneer head coach Paul Test. Wortmann was fired after the incident. Both head coaches have since resigned.

None of the coaches were charged in the melee, which has ruffled the feathers of community members and resulted in protests before many of the teens’ court hearings.

One 17-year-old student, who was 16 when charged as a juvenile, was found responsible for an assault during the brawl was sentenced to six months of probation and a $50 fine last month. He too would have the conviction expunged from his criminal record if he completes probation successfully.

However, his family plans to appeal the probation sentence. The teen was found responsible for assaulting Will Harris during the brawl, but denied ever touching Harris.

A second 17-year-old boy charged as a juvenile rejected a plea offer that would have included similar deals Garain and the other teen received. He has a jury trial scheduled for June 24.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Thu, May 16, 2013 : 8:19 p.m.

Cheers Judge Sheldon for this appropriate sentence; it didn't "destroy" this young mans life nor was "the book" thrown at him. I like how graduating high school and enrolling in college is part of his probation. This young man make a stupid mistake, but it seems he has a plan to be the good productive citizen we all hope he will be. Best of luck to him. Now let's move on.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 7:10 p.m.

its football people, its sports people. if you dont understand that, why bother commenting. our system is corrupt and in-just. nothing should have happened with this and if it was necessary to punish anyone it would have to be the coaches. a hockey player gets a 2 minute penalty for swinging his stick. a soccer player gets a red card for a slide kick, a basketball player gets a tech for a flagrant. when a brawl happens fines and suspensions are handed out. Not criminal prosecution. Hellllo people, this is sports.

Bruce W

Sat, May 25, 2013 : 3:51 p.m.

The penalties you mentioned happen during a game, not after the game is over. When was the last time you saw a player on crutches that was playing during a game? I don't think any sport allows players on crutches during the game. Was someone trying to score while this kid was swinging the crutch?????????


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 9:29 p.m.

I'm sure no football player is at risk of being charged with anything for knocking somebody to the ground 'during' the game. There is a reason for wearing helmets and other protective gear 'during' a game. Also, last I heard crutches aren't used in the game of football.

Laurie Barrett

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 4:47 p.m.

Funny how people misunderstand "self defense" to mean physically "defending" one's pride or sense of justice. Becoming worked up or indignant doesn't justify physical threat or harm. Some people really believe it's bona fide self defense to thump someone who cut in line, etc. They actually try to use that as an argument in court.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 4:04 p.m.

Probabtion and fines are too harsh. He is just a baby.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.

From an authoritative book I'm reading: "Consider the accusation. That your child got in trouble for cracking jokes in class is one thing, but it's something entirely different when he gets into trouble for packing a hammer in his backpack to thump someone." I just hope that the parents of these young men are paying attention to such signs. Swinging a crutch at someone might, in fact, have been just an impulsive act. We'll have to trust the parents know if there are any other signs that their son has a real problem perking away in the background.

Robert Granville

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 2:55 p.m.

HYTA and probation.... thankful this ended fairly even though it didn't seem it would.

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 2:45 p.m.

So I have been informed that this angel only *swung* the crutch and did not actually hit anyone in the face with the crutch. I apologize for maligning his good reputation by suggesting the crutch he swung made actual contact with someone's face.

Steve Bean

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 3:41 p.m.

You're also suggesting that he swung it at someone's face. You're also suggesting that others consider him an angel. What you haven't suggested is what you think would be "fair" in this case or achieve "justice" or whatever it really is that you think should happen that probably won't. As Robert Granville pointed out above, the usual approach in cases like this is to take no legal action at all. The realistic alternative to this sentence is not a harsher one, but none at all.

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

It reads like this kid who plead guilty received the same sentence as the kid who fought the charge and was found guilty. That does not seem fair. And in the latter case, the family is appealing the wrist slap sentence. Kids who throw snowballs at cars, or vandalize with spray paint, have gotten harsher punishments. How is this fair to the victim who was attacked with the crutch?


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 6:18 p.m.

You people are crazy lol, do you expect the football player to be traumatized because he saw someone swing a crutch at him? Even if he did get hit with a crutch while in pads I highly doubt there is going to be longstanding mental anguish as a result. All this while I don't see anyone asking for the coaches heads that started it.

Angry Moderate

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 3:41 p.m.

I wonder if the resident liberals who think that swinging a crutch at someone isn't an "attack" would feel the same way if somebody shot a gun at them, but missed.

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 2:42 p.m.

Okay- so he only *swung* the crutch. That makes it all better. Not.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

There was no victim hit with a crutch. This has been proven.

David Wizard

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 2:23 p.m.

No one was struck with the crutch - he swung it at them, but missed. Maybe get your facts straight before getting indignant.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

and why the coaches did not get charged is the real tragedy. they are the ones that started the whole thing setting the example for the kids

Robert Granville

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 2:57 p.m.

It isn't just them. A brawl went down between the US and Mexico national baseball teams shortly after this one on national television. No fines, no sanctions from the league and no prosecution for a knock down drag out battle between grown men who set examples for young athletes everywhere...

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

The coaches did not swing crutches.

John of Saline

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 12:51 p.m.

No, it's not "just something that happened." Hope he learns from it despite that line.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 5:53 p.m.

I totally agree.

Angry Moderate

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 3:39 p.m.

He "mistakenly" swung a crutch at someone? Oh please. That wouldn't even be assault...he wouldn't have pleaded guilty if that's what happened. Assault requires intent.

David Wizard

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

So you think it was a premeditated attack, and not an obvious mistake made in the heat of the moment? Good luck making that case.

Mr. Ed

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 12:30 p.m.

Kyle when does a boy become a man? A second 17-year-old boy. Just curious. The plea is a good deal for all involved. Move on with your life be productive and give back to society.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 10:59 a.m.

Four months of probation for felony assault doesn't really seem like a very strong statement of societal disapproval for the behavior this young man exhibited. Still, if the behavior truly was an aberration and he truly is redeemable, society probably IS best served by his being compelled to move in the right direction--toward completing high school, enrolling in college, and learning how to be a productive member of society, rather than by his being jailed. If he reverts to any kind of anti-social or counterproductive behavior, though, he won't deserve much consideration. Let's hope for the best outcome.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 12:27 p.m.

Perhaps I failed to give the two instances of 'if' in my comment sufficient emphasis. I don't at all support slap-on-the-wrist punishments for bad behavior, and I agree with those of you who are shaking their heads at the leniency of the sentence--what's the message? Nonetheless, jailing the kid probably wouldn't result in any net benefit and might actually just make him a bigger risk to society on his release, so I'm trying to be balanced in my response. Maybe that's not why I got the down votes, though. Maybe the folks who gave them to me can express their views directly? I'd be interested to know.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 5:35 a.m.

The prosecutor charges the kids, but not the adults. Very interesting. Remember that voters when election time comes around. The "prosecutors ruled he [Wortmann] believed he was defending Pioneer head coach Paul Test." That is actually something the jury should be deciding. There certainly is enough cause to charge him. The prosecutor(s) just didn't want to charge him, but they certainly stuck it to the kids who were just following in the fury led by the adults. The kids were playing "follow the leader" and now the lower ranks get the punishment for it -- just learning the facts of life real quick. The kids that plead out probably all had public defenders who didn't bother to do anything to defend them other then to "plea it down." What does the family plan on appealing, he plead guilty to the charges. Is the Judge not suppose to sentence him to anything? They should have gone to trial with the PD, let the jury decide if he was guilty and then let the Judge sentence him with probation. Better to let a group of people decide rather then one ... always remember the case of Casey Anthony, and that was not just a swing of a stick.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 2:55 a.m.



Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:51 a.m.

That wasn't so bad now, was it? Counting the days to September 14.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:18 a.m.

I wonder if helping Garain pay his court costs will be a fundraising project for the Pioneer football team, or if the school board will borrow money to pay it off for him?

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

Sorry pal, but your millage just went up.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:18 a.m.

Four months isn't much but at least he pled guilty and owned up to it. Hopefully along with the judge's education conditions, he will go on and live a productive life with this incident only being a tiny blip.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

Angry Moderate: I agree; his saying "It just happened" shows lack of impulse control and refusal to take responsibility for what he did. I hope his time on probation will give him the opportunity to take stock, grow up a bit, and move on.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

wish the coaches would own up to it too


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

I think the article says one of the other students is appealing their probation, not this guy, but maybe I'm wrong? And it is unfortunate that he chose the words "it just happened" instead of "it happened because 'I' etc...".


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 12:12 p.m.

Dear Angry Moderate - it has been documented that no one was hit with a crutch. He is not appealing. What about the coaches (the adults, the team leaders) who started the brawl "owning up to it"? After all it was the coaches that "CHOSE to make it happen"?


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 11:16 a.m.

Sadly don't count on it...


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 10 a.m.

he is not, read it again

Angry Moderate

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:36 a.m.

He hasn't owned up to it at all. He says it "just happened" without admitting that he CHOSE to make it happen, as if be lacks agency. He's also appealing the sentence, which is lenient to begin with.

Martha Cojelona Gratis

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:01 a.m.

fair enough

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 12:08 a.m.

This kid got a great deal, and a great break. I hope he goes on to do great things. But does this sentence really give the person he plead guilty to hitting justice? Just probation? For a felony?

Steve Bean

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 3:32 p.m.

Justice is a concept that only exists in people's minds. What do you imagine it would look like in this case, Nicholas?

David Wizard

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

He didn't hit anyone with the crutch - please stop spreading misinformation.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 12:03 p.m.

Mr. Urfe - please note that this student, Bashir Garain, did not hit anybody, that has been documented over and over. The one student who was injured in the brawl, was kicked by others, not this particular student. (Just who did the kicking has been a point of controversy due to victim not seeing who he was kicked by and unreliable witness accounts during a "melee" situation.) This student, Bashir Garain, had to plead guilty to be able to accept the plea deal.

The Infinite Jester

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 10:52 a.m.

Many felonies just give probation.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 3:27 a.m.

What reasons do you have to believe that he will be unable to complete his probation?


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:02 a.m.

Nope it doesn't and we shouldn't be surprised. Let's see if he can manage to avoid violating probation for 4 months.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 11:59 p.m.

Just do the probation and move on. The whole thing gets swept under the rug. Glad to see we are all moving on from this. Now lets learn a lesson or two as well.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 11:58 p.m.

It's probably good for anyone to know they will be in real trouble if they commit any further felonies.

Joseph Maino

Tue, May 14, 2013 : 11:23 p.m.

Sentenced under HYTA but its being blared on the Internet!?!

Angry Moderate

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 3:36 p.m.

He sabotaged his own life by attacking someone with a crutch.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 3:26 a.m.

For sure Kyle - you should DEFINITELY sabotage his best attempt at living a normal a life.

Kyle Feldscher

Wed, May 15, 2013 : 1:48 a.m.

Joseph- Whether this incident stays on Mr. Garain's criminal record or not, this is very much a newsworthy event that has started a lot of conversation in our community about race and the culpability of students in an incident ostensibly started by adults. He may have the criminal conviction erased from his record, but that does not change the fact that the incident - and the ensuing criminal cases - are newsworthy and are written about.