ST. JOSEPH — A Coloma man accused of attacking a St. Joseph High School student in February continued to decline accepting a plea agreement Wednesday during a preliminary exam conference at the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph.
Glisson, 51, of Coloma was arraigned March 4 on the felony charge of assault by strangulation, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. The first time he was given the chance to plead to the lesser charge of aggravated assault was during a preliminary exam conference on March 13. That charge is a misdemeanor carrying the sentence of up to one year in jail. If Glisson had accepted the plea agreement, the 10-year felony would have been dismissed.
Glisson’s next hearing in March was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, he again declined to plead to the lesser charge. Instead, his attorney, Tat Parish, said he had made a counter offer of his client pleading guilty to disorderly conduct on a no contest basis, with the assurance that Glisson would serve no jail time.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Courtney O’Malley-Septoski said she needs to discuss the counter proposal with her superiors, but that she doesn’t expect it to be accepted.
Berrien County Trial Court Judge Gordon Hosbein set the exam conference at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, if he doesn’t recuse himself because he is an assistant baseball coach for the St. Joseph High School baseball team.
Parish said he and Glisson want Hosbein to continue hearing the case.
“We would be opposed to recusal. We have full confidence in your fairness, and we would prefer to have you stay,” he said.
The preliminary exam was done via Zoom, but the exam conference will be done in person.
Glisson is accused of attacking 18-year-old Steve Meridy Jr. while having a conversation with him at the high school. At the time, Glisson was the site coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor at the high school. The club fired Glisson shortly after the confrontation.
A video received later in March from St. Joseph Public Schools through a Freedom of Information Act request appears to show Glisson putting his hands up to the student’s neck and shoving him onto a table.
Glisson remains out on bond. Meridy was a senior at the time of the incident.