Hearing set for Dedham couple accused of hosting party in which teen drowned

DEDHAM, Mass. — A hearing is scheduled for Thursday at Dedham District Court for James Coughlin and his wife Leslie.

The couple is charged with reckless endangerment and providing alcohol to minors for their alleged role in a graduation party that ended with 17-year-old Alonzo Polk being found at the bottom of their swimming pool. Polk who was not drunk died days later.

In a recent filing, according to the Boston Herald, the attorney representing the Coughlins wrote:

“The facts of this case revolve around an absolute tragedy — a young man ten days’ shy of his eighteenth birthday drowned at a high school graduation party hosted by the Defendants,” Kelly wrote in the filing. “But as the Supreme Judicial Court has made clear, the fact that a minor died in an accident does not mean that there is probable cause the defendants engaged in reckless or wanton conduct that endangered the life of a child.”

Since that filing, last month, the Norfolk County District Attorney has countered with a filing of its own fighting the effort to have the reckless endangerment charge dropped. The Herald reports the DA’s filing states:

“The defendants took no steps to ensure that those who were around the pool could swim nor did they instruct the teenage partygoers to refrain from entering the pool or rough-housing around the pool,” the prosecutors wrote, later adding, “The defendants’ failure to maintain proper lighting and allowing those teenage partygoers to drink and gather surrounding the open pool in the middle of the night and after midnight amplified the gravity of danger and recklessness of their conduct.”

Polk’s family was outspoken in the aftermath of his death seeking justice for Alonzo and holding a rally in Dedham.

“Everybody is still standing and my son is gone and I want justice and I’m going to get it,” Debra Rowell, Polk’s mother said at the time.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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