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Judge rules in favor of Picayune School District

Published 7:00am Friday, April 18, 2014

The Picayune School District won’t be writing a check to the parents of former Picayune Memorial High School baseball player Jeffery Dixon.

Thursday afternoon, the Honorable Anthony Mozingo ruled in favor of the school district, said Pearl River County Circuit Clerk Vickie Hariel.

The trial reconvened Thursday morning with testimony from Dixon and his parents, Amy and Jeff.

Along with his parents, Jeffery Dixon testified to his emotional distress stemming from the April 19, 2011 incident before a varsity baseball game against Lumberton High School.

Jeffery Dixon said that besides freshman players being punched by seniors before each game, players also got punched on their birthdays. He testified that the reason he never told his parents or coaches about the pregame ritual was because he had never been punched.

Similar to other witness’ testimony, before the April 19, 2011 game, after the coaches had walked off, the team huddled up. Jeffery Dixon said that was when a senior would pick out a freshman to punch.

Jeffery Dixon said at previous games, he stood on the outside of the circle hoping he wouldn’t get picked. That night, Dixon said when he was chosen to get punched, he refused.

When he refused, Jeffery Dixon said another player held his hands behind his back so that J.D. Stockstill could punch him. Jeffery Dixon testified that he told other players not to hit him in his chest because he had seen on the news that a basketball player died during the game because he had a heart condition.

Jeffery Dixon said after he was punched, he walked about five steps before he collapsed.

Jeffery Dixon’s testimony that he didn’t speak with Picayune High School’s Head Baseball Coach Cayne Stockstill about the incident concurred with Cayne Stockstill’s testimony.

Jeffery Dixon said on the stand that he never told his parents what was happening before each game because he knew his mother would pull him from the team.

Jeffery Dixon also testified that while the coaches never went over the MHSAA guidelines or discussed hazing with the team, Cayne Stockstill did tell the players to keep their hands off other players after an incident occured in January 2011 between players Kurt Smith and Christian Travis.

Dixon’s parents testified that after Jeffery was injured, he experienced panic attacks. For the first few months, he would have six to eight panic attacks a day, they testified.

Jeffery Dixon said when he had the panic attacks he would re-live the event all over again and feel like he couldn’t breathe. He said the frequency of the panic attacks has lessened over the last few months, but he still experiences them.

Jeffery Dixon’s parents testified that he has become emotionally disconnected from his family and friends since the incident.

“A piece of my son died that day,” Amy Dixon said.

Jeffery Dixon said after the attack he started to shutdown emotionally.

“I don’t allow anyone to get close to me anymore,” Jeffery Dixon said.

When Picayune School District’s lawyer Ed Taylor questioned the parents if Jeffery Dixon had received treatment for his panic attacks, they said no.

Amy Dixon said it was not recommended by other doctors that Jeffery see a psychologist or psychiatrist and that she didn’t feel the need to schedule an appointment.

Taylor questioned Amy Dixon about the neurologist’s report, not ingthere were no signs that Jeffery was depressed, had memory loss, lost the ability to make a decision or that he saw him cry.

Amy Dixon responded that she was curious why a neurologist was making a comment on her son’s psychiatric state when he had no background in psychology or psychiatry.

Taylor also questioned Jeffery Dixon and his parents on the medical treatment he received. Taylor’s concern was based on the fact Jeffery Dixon was place in a home school program after the incident by a nurse practitioner.

The Dixon family also testified that Jeffery Dixon sought medical treatment at Oschner Hospital in Slidell, La. on April 19, 2011 and that he followed up with a neurologist.

The last thing Taylor questioned Jeffery Dixon about was a recent tweet he posted.

Jeffery Dixon’s post stated that moving to Alabama was the best thing that ever happened to him. Jeffery Dixon said he did post that statement and that “It’s taken three years for me to get here.”

Jeffery Dixon’s attorney, Daniel Waide, followed up Taylor’s question by asking Jeffery for an explanation on why he posted the tweet.

Jeffery Dixon responded he was happier in Alabama “because I don’t have to worry about what I had to worry about in Picayune.”

 

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