T.J. Nolen’s appeal for new trial fails

February 12, 2014

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An appeal for a new trial for convicted child molester and former Lipan coach Tyson James (T.J.) Nolen of Weatherford was sent three days late and denied, District Attorney Rob Christian said following a recent hearing before Judge Ralph Walton in 355th Judicial District Court.

Nolen, 26, was sentenced on Dec. 4 in Granbury to 54 years in prison for sexual relations with a 13-year-old Lipan student.

The jury convicted him on one count of continuous sexual assault of a child (victim under 14). That specific first-degree felony does not allow for early release on parole, so Nolen can’t get out of prison until age 80.

Nolen’s new attorney, Judith Hearn of Weatherford, prepared the paperwork requesting the judge to grant a new trial. Nolen had been represented by Shay Isham of Granbury in his trial.

“She mailed the motion three days too late, and the state objected to the late filing,” Christian said. “The late filing also divested (took away) the trial court of jurisdiction. The trial court sustained the state’s objection and refused to hear the motion for a new trial.”

Christian said that there is a possibility for another appeal for a new trial.

Nolen was fired from his position as varsity baseball coach and as a history/geography teacher at Lipan after he was arrested on the school’s campus on March 19 last year.

The jury in Nolen’s December trial heard testimony about separate instances of sexual contact between Nolen and a girl who was 13 at the time, as well as two who were 16. Nolen had been indicted on four felony counts in all, but the state elected to proceed only on the most serious charge.

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