At least a few of the Ensworth student-athletes arrested last week will have well-known faces in the legal community representing them in court.
The former U.S. prosecutor for the Middle District of Tennessee, Ed Yarbrough, will represent two of the juveniles while former Davidson County Assistant District Attorney Jim Todd will represent three others in the case.
Metro police, responding to a call of “shots fired,” arrested seven Ensworth students early last Wednesday for setting off what police called 11 homemade “chemical reaction devices” in a yard of the home of another student.
The students mixed household chemicals and aluminum foil in plastic bottles, which can cause the bottles to expand and eventually explode.
Todd said the seven juveniles were charged with delinquencies that would be classified as class A misdemeanors if they were adults.
In juvenile court, Yarbrough said the minors could face probation or incarceration in a juvenile facility, though the latter seems unlikely as none of the seven students charged have prior criminal records.
Yarbrough is hopeful the matter would be settled through a pre-trial diversion.
“What’s possible — of course it’ll be up to the judge and the district attorney — would be a diversion agreement that allows them to perhaps do some public service work or any other conditions that might be affixed by the court,” he said, “and then once it’s all over have the matter dismissed and their records expunged, which is the ideal outcome for young people who have no prior history.”
Yarbrough declined to comment on how a former U.S. prosecutor came to represent two high school students in what police said appeared to be meant as a high-school prank, albeit a potentially dangerous one involving mixing explosive chemicals.
“This is the type of work I did before I went over to the prosecutor’s office,” said Yarbrough, who stepped aside from the federal post following the swearing in of his successor Jerry Martin in May.
“It’s a situation that’s unfortunate, but it has to be dealt with in the legal system,” he said.
A settlement hearing on the matter is set for Aug. 12.
It was unclear if the two other students charged had legal representation.