A Dedham, Massachusetts couple will face charges in connection with the death of teenager who was pulled from their pool last month during a graduation party.
A clerk magistrate on Wednesday ruled charges can move forward against the homeowners, James Coughlin and Leslie Coughlin, in the death of 17-year-old Alonzo Polk of Dedham. They are charged with furnishing alcohol to minors and reckless endangerment of a child.
James Coughlin is a retired Massachusetts State Police trooper, records show.
Arraignments for the couple will now be scheduled.
At the hearing, a defense attorney for the Coughlins argued there was no reckless endangerment, and claimed Polk was not drinking at the party and pushed into pool by a peer who didn’t know he was unable to swim. James Coughlin tried to perform CPR on victim, the attorney said.
Authorities say Polk was found submerged in an in-ground backyard pool during a graduation party at the Coughlin's home on Netta Road. He died a few days later at a Boston hospital.
After his death, Polk's family and friends gathered for a vigil and unity march Sunday evening where hundreds walked through a Dedham neighborhood from Polk's home to the house where he was found in the pool a few blocks away. They were chanting "justice for AP!", carrying signs that read "Justice for Alonzo," and wearing t-shirts that said "A.P. STRONG."
Polk had graduated with honors from Dedham High School this year, family members told NBC10 Boston. He attended a graduation party at the Netta Road residence with friends that night, and his family received a call Sunday that something had happened.
Those family members said they are demanding answers from the Dedham Police Department and the Norfolk County District Attorney's Office.
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“They’ve yet to talk about this case, they’ve yet to talk about these people they’ve yet to mention a name, we know this is a retired state trooper's home, what are they going to do about that?," Polk's brother Shawn Drane said in June. "You’re in a position to protect and serve, what about prevention? You’re supposed to prevent something like this from happening.”
“I want justice for my son. Everyone else’s kids are here and my son is gone, you don’t know how I feel," Polk's mom Debra Rowell said. "I need answers and I want them now, I need justice for my baby, everybody else I see walk by here and I don’t see my son, it’s killing me, I need my baby and I’m never going to see him again, I need my baby.”
In a message to parents, Dedham Public Schools said Polk was a graduating senior this year.
“Alonzo will be remembered as a kind, personable student, teammate and friend," the district said. "Alonzo always gave his best and was someone who invariably left others smiling during their interactions. He was a pleasure to know because of his positive attitude and will to succeed.”
Polk had several scholarships, but family members say he hadn't decided his next step. He played football and basketball in high school, and he had an interest in engineering.