By Anna May and Caroline Kirk
Tomorrow Today Staff Writers
In Trial 1, Kelly Norman was found not guilty on one count of harassing communications and guilty on assault in the second degree. Montgomery Academy, led by Ellen Park, served as the defense team, and Spain Park, led by Bailey Whetter, served as the prosecution team. The victim is high school senior, Chris Roland. Although they do not attend the same school, Norman and Roland are knee boarding competitors and former club league teammates. Roland and Norman were involved in an innocent rivalry until the beginning of their senior year. Roland claims that they used to be pretty good friends, but Norman took pranking a little too far. The suspected harassment began on March 20, 2014, when Roland received a threatening text message from a number he/she didn’t recognize. Roland suspected that it had something to do with his/her ability to stay ahead of Norman in the state knee boarding rankings. The messages kept coming until they sporadically stopped on May 1, 2014. Roland was then informed that a friend saw a Chris Roland fan club page that someone had set up on the Headbook social media site. Someone then began posting anonymously on a popular knee boarding internet forum.
The assault occurred at the knee boarding state championship on August 31, 2014. Norman swung at Roland’s knees with a baseball bat. Roland was set to take his/her run at 1 p.m. Roland stayed in the locker room for a few minutes. As he/she walked out of the locker room, he/she heard a deep voice say, “end of the line sucker.” As he/she turned around, he/she saw Norman dressed in a gorilla costume holding his/her keys and glasses. It was believed to be Norman because of a Halloween Bash that was to take place, and Norman had said he was to be dressed as a gorilla. Norman pulls out a Louisville Slugger baseball bat and swung at Roland’s knees. Roland turned and ran away, but he/she tripped over a rock and twisted his/her knee.
Norman was being tutored at the time at the Rosarita Internet Café, owned by his own cousin, Brady Cole. Brady Cole states “her cousin has never been the best student of computer science,” and even received an “F” in her/his introductory computer science course during her/his sophomore year. It was Cole’s idea for Norman to be tutored by Teddy, a business partner of Cole’s. During business hours, Norman would work the front desk checking people into the café and taking payments. During that time, she/he had no access to a computer. Around 7 p.m., after close of business, Norman and Teddy would do programming exercises, go over concepts, and then Norman would try to implement them on one of the café’s computers. Cole said in order for an internet user to mask their identity, a moderate to high level of computer proficiency is required. The user must have the ability to properly install, configure and operate several pieces of software in order to successfully hide their true IP address and the other identifying information. Due to this, Cole believed it was unlikely that Norman could have truly committed the alleged harassment. Norman had no proficiency when she/he started working with Teddy, and low proficiency by the time Teddy stopped tutoring him/her.