Central High teacher accused of choking student to plead not gui - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Central High teacher accused of choking student to plead not guilty

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

The Central High School teacher accused of assaulting a student in a downtown Cape Girardeau parking lot plans to enter a not guilty plea.

Roman D. Smith, 32, is charged with class A misdemeanor of assault in the third degree.

Smith was in a downtown parking lot with two female companions when a male Central High School student contacted Smith in a downtown parking lot on Jan. 21 and they began "play fighting" each other, according to the Cape Girardeau County Prosecutor Morley Swingle.

Smith is accused of wrapping his feet around the student's back, his arm around the student's neck, applying a choke hold, and choking him until he was unconscious.

Smith is also accused of letting the student fall onto the parking lot before running away, according to the probable cause statement.

The student's mother pulled her son out of school because she felt he was not safe with Smith not in jail, according to the probable cause statement.

Cape Schools Superintendent Dr. James Welker says he cannot comment since it is a personnel matter.  Welker did say Smith is on administrative leave.  Smith is listed as a science teacher on the school's website.

He is due in court in March.

Smith's attorney Bryan Greaser released this statement:

"My client will be entering a not guilty plea in this charge. We intend to let the justice system play out, and our justice system will allow Roman Smith to tell his account of what happened on that night in a court of law. My client certainly regrets the incident which occurred on January 21, 2012 which has led to the misdemeanor assault in the third degree criminal charge, but the evidence will show that my client had acted within the bounds of the law on that night. While it is tempting for me to want to defend my client in the court of public opinion at this time, any further comment would not be appropriate until this matter proceeds to court, where my client will be afforded the rights guaranteed to the criminally accused by our U.S. Constitution."

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