Abril ‘very caring, very trusting,’ supporters testify

Published 5:05 pm Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Patty Aldred, Dr. Iain Fitch and Rev. Mary Potter testified on behalf of Abril Monday during the superior court session in Haywood County. Abril&squo;s attorney, Stephen Lindsay, also placed into evidence nine letters of support from the community and two letters from Abril&squo;s sons.

Aldred said she&squo;s known Abril and his wife, Colleen, for many years. She described the Abrils&39; sons as very fine young men and talked about his work coaching sports through the Polk County Recreation Department, of which she is director.

&dquo;He interacts with all the children the way he does with his own,&dquo; Aldred said. &dquo;He&squo;s very caring, very trusting. Anytime anyone has him as a coach they always want to come back to him.&dquo;

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Aldred said Abril has volunteered hundreds of hours to the community and she has never received any complaints. She and her daughter, Elizabeth Aldred, also gave letters of support to the court.

Dr. Mary Potter said she is with the Tryon Presbyterian Church, the home church for Abril&squo;s wife, Colleen.

Potter said Abril&squo;s sons are very active in the church and they attend church school every Sunday, even when they have sleep-overs.

&dquo;My observation would be that he has a remarkable relationship with his sons,&dquo; said Potter. &dquo;You can tell the love and respect between the sons and their father. They love to be around him.&dquo;

All three testified that they had never seen any inappropriate behavior from Abril, including toward children.

Fitch testified that he is a veterinarian and came to know Abril 11 years ago. He spoke of Abril coaching soccer teams, being a referee and playing soccer himself. Fitch said Abril has had a large, positive influence on the soccer community.

&dquo;He is always supportive of any of the children he has coached,&dquo; Fitch said. &dquo;They look at him as a father. They respect him.&dquo;

Fitch also spoke of Abril and his wife&squo;s loving relationship with their sons.