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Phoenix Court Orders Fishel to Return to Jail : Jurisprudence: Angel replacement player will have to stay there until he comes up with $12,000 for child-support payments.

March 15, 1995|MIKE DiGIOVANNA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

PHOENIX — Angel outfielder John Fishel was handcuffed again Tuesday, but not by an inside fastball. It was by a Maricopa County sheriff's deputy who transported Fishel back to jail per order of county Court Commissioner Lindsay Ellis.

Fishel, an outfielder/first baseman, received an indefinite jail sentence for failing to pay child support to Kim Ketchum, a Phoenix-area woman who claims Fishel is the father of her daughter, Ashley, 6.

Fishel, a former Cal State Fullerton standout, was arrested during a game last week on a warrant that he owes $66,686 in child support to Ketchum dating to 1989. He was released after 12 hours when the Angels paid an $8,000 bond.

Ellis told Fishel Tuesday that he would not be released from jail again until he makes a $20,000 "purge" payment, $8,000 of which will be credited from last week's bond.

Fishel, 32, missed Wednesday's game against the Mariners but is expected to start a work furlough program, which would allow him to play baseball during the day. But until he comes up with $12,000, he'll have to spend nights in jail.

Ellis also ordered Fishel to make $808-per-month child support payments and $400-per-month arrearage payments to Ketchum for the next year. Fishel, who is married with two children and a stepdaughter, already is paying about $600 a month in child support to two other women, one of them his former wife.

But attorneys for both parties were working on a settlement offer Tuesday afternoon that would allow Fishel to sever his rights as father and relieve him of future payments in exchange for $25,000, $8,000 of which has already been paid. Ketchum is married, and attorneys said her husband is willing to adopt Ashley.

Fishel's attorney, Jess Lorona, made a counteroffer of an additional $7,500 late Tuesday, but Ketchum hadn't responded as of Tuesday evening.

"I don't know if that's going to be enough," Lorona said.

During about 45 minutes of testimony Tuesday, Fishel admitted he ignored a 1990 court order to pay Ketchum $808 a month. When Fishel failed to appear for contempt proceedings in 1990, he was sentenced to 60 days in jail and fined $20,000.

Fishel, who has lived in Columbus, Ohio, and worked for a cabinet-manufacturing company for the last three years before signing with the Angels as a replacement player, never served the time or paid the fine.

He had hoped to dispute Ketchum's claim that he is Ashley's father, but he lost those rights because he failed to appear in 1990.

Angel General Manager Bill Bavasi said the team had no plans to provide further financial assistance to Fishel but said his status would not be affected for now.

"We're in a wait-and-see mode right now," Bavasi said. "This is a personal issue that he has to take care of."

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