A judge has scheduled a hearing for June 13 on remaining motions in the negligent homicide and child-abuse cases against Challenger Foundation director Stephen Cartisano.
Sixth Circuit Judge David Mower told attorneys that he would set a trial date at the June hearing. Mower also set a May 31 deadline for discovery in the case.Cartisano is charged with negligent homicide in the June 1990 death of Kristen Chase of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The girl died while hiking atop the rugged Kaiparowits Plateau, and an autopsy showed she died of external heat stroke.
Cartisano also is charged with eight counts of child abuse stemming from allegations that students were subjected to exposure to the elements and dragged or forced to hike while ill.
After Thursday's hearing, defense attorney Elizabeth Joseph said a plea bargain in the case is on hold.
"We haven't heard a word for several weeks about the plea on either side," she said. "We haven't had any communication at all and we don't know when and if it will happen."
Joseph had said earlier that a plea agreement was in the works.
Meanwhile, Challenger, which was founded in 1988, has sought protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and no longer operates in Utah.
Cartisano started another wilderness therapy program in Hawaii, but officials there shut the program down.
Mower has yet to rule on several pending motions in the case.
Similar charges filed against Cartisano's former field director, Lance "Horsehair" Jagger, are being held in abeyance pending his fulfillment of an agreement to testify against his former boss.