Former Volusia County teacher accused of having sex with students agrees to open plea deal

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — A former Volusia County teacher accused of having multiple sexual relationships with students was back in court Wednesday where he entered into a plea deal to avoid facing a jury.


During a hearing late Wednesday afternoon, Arin Hankerd agreed to enter into an open plea deal from prosecutors which means he could face up to 190 years in prison.

Prosecutors had offered Hankerd a plea deal of 25 years behind bars followed by 10 years of probation.

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Hankerd declined that deal, but the open plea he did accept Wednesday means he won’t go to trial and will instead leave his fate in the hands of the judge presiding over his case.

“Are you making this knowingly and voluntarily,” Judge Karen Foxman asked Hankerd during Wednesday’s hearing.

“Yes,” Hankerd replied.

Under the open plea deal, Hankerd could be sentenced to anywhere from 18 up to 190 years in prison.

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Before coming to the agreement, Judge Foxman asked one of Hankerd’s now 16-year-old alleged victims to approach the bench as she explained the risks at hand.

“What we do know is that you will have to sit in here and testify in front of people you don’t know about very private things,” Judge Foxman explained.

Hankerd was a teacher and football coach at Atlantic High School in 2022 when investigators say he had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old sophomore.

Not long after his arrest, a second student from Mainland High School- where Hankerd previously worked- contacted police and said she had oral sex with Hankerd at his home.

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Hankerd’s open plea spares the former students from testifying in the trial.

Hankerd’s attorney asked for additional time to get witnesses together ahead of the sentencing.

Judge Foxman says she’s hopeful both sides will be ready for sentencing by early April or May.

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