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Chris Murray Jun-22-2017 28 0
Ryan Jones, a former linebacker who signed contracts with two NFL teams, was shot and killed Sunday evening, his former high school coach and the Washoe County (Nev.) Medical Examiner's Office confirmed Tuesday. He was 26.

About 8:20 p.m. Sunday, officers were called to the 200 block of Talus Way, north of Rancho San Rafael Park, where they found three men who'd been shot. One of the men – later identified as Jones – died at the scene.

The other victims were transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening conditions.

Reno Police Department spokesman Officer Tim Broadway said he could not comment on the circumstances the led up to the shooting as of Tuesday afternoon.

"We can't go into details yet because it's an ongoing investigation," he said. Broadway said "several people" were still being interviewed.

Rollins Stallworth, Jones' football coach at Hug High in Reno, said he started receiving a deluge of texts Monday morning about his former player. Stallworth said Jones touched a lot of people during his life.

“We’re all mourning this horrible tragedy and hopefully we can get past this and stay very positive on what Ryan was able to accomplish and pursue in his short lifespan,” Stallworth said.

Jones played for Montana Tech from 2011-13. Jones jumped onto NFL scouting radars with a strong pro day. He wasn't selected in the 2014 NFL draft but signed a free-agent deal with the Baltimore Ravens.

Jones was the first Montana Tech player to sign an NFL contract.

“He was the perfect example and perfect role model for kids who thought it was Division I or bust," Stallworth said. "He showed that if you give it your all and play really hard, there’s a college and a level for you. His ego wasn’t too big that he wouldn’t go to junior college and his ego wasn’t too big that he wouldn’t go to Montana Tech at that level and excel, and he still got an opportunity with two NFL teams."

Jones was waived by the Ravens a month after signing and given an injury settlement. In 2015, Jones was signed by the New York Giants before being waived again with an injury settlement two months later.

After his football career ended, Jones spent time training in mixed martial arts at a Reno gym. His last fight was May 20 when he won a King of the Cage match at the Silver Legacy Casino Resort.

“He was really positive, had a lot of friends, made a lot of friends quickly," Stallworth said. "But he wasn’t afraid of hard work. That’s what he always had to do. He always was told that he wasn’t good enough to do this or that, he wasn’t big enough or wasn’t strong enough.

"Here’s a guy who went through high school with people telling him that, through junior college and they told him that, went to NAIA and they told him that, went to the pros and they told him that and ultimately he went into MMA and they told him that.”

On Monday, Jones’ popular hashtag, #IBVibiN, began circulating social media with friends paying homage to Jones. The hashtag was shorthand for "I Be Vibing," meaning to always have a positive attitude and do all you can to be great.

Siva Ali, 35, said he knew Jones for more than five years. What first started as a working relationship – Ali was Jones's tattoo artist – developed into a friendship.

"Everything that happened to him just doesn't match everything he was about," Ali said. "He was the good guy. When Ryan would come into the room, you would notice him. He's so tall and so big and had a good smile. ... He was the big fish."

Ali said Jones was always talking about his future and his family, two subjects Ali said Jones was passionate about.

"He did well for himself," Ali said. "He had his life together. He's just gone too soon."

Stallworth said he will remember Jones as a kind, respectful, humble, hard-working kid who pursued his dreams.

“He didn’t have any fears and ultimately that lack of fear got him into the situation he got into the other night," Stallworth said. "Ryan accepted challenges. He never backed down from a challenge. He was married to his career. The last three or four years that I’ve seen at the barber shop or in the community, he was busting his butt working out with Duke Williams and Courtney Gardner (both Hug alums who also signed NFL contracts) trying to make a pro career or he was doing his MMA workouts. He was driven to become a success.”

John Annese Jun-12-2017 70 0
Former NBA player Sebastian Telfair was busted early Sunday on gun charges after police found him with four loaded guns and a bulletproof vest in Brooklyn, officers said.

Cops arrested Telfair, 32, and a second man, Jami Thomas, 18, after noticing their 2017 Ford F-150 parked on a median on Atlantic Ave. near Classon St. in Prospect Heights, at about 2:50 a.m., officials said.

The pickup tried to drive off without headlights, but cops pulled it over, then smelled pot and saw a lit blunt on the dashboard, NYPD Sgt. Brendan Ryan said. Police found three handguns, a semi-automatic rifle, the vest and ammo, along with two bags of marijuana, Ryan said.

Telfair, a Brooklyn native and the cousin of former Knick Stephon Marbury, went straight from Brooklyn's Lincoln High School to the NBA in 2004 when he was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers.

He’s played for several NBA teams, and in December 2014 signed with the Xinijang Flying Tigers in China, after he was released by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Telfair and a buddy were busted on gun charges in 2007, after police in Yonkers found a loaded handgun in his car. The next year, he pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a weapon and got three years' probation.
A.J. Perez Jun-08-2017 115 0
The body of former NFL player James Hardy III was found in an Indiana river on Wednesday, USA TODAY Sports confirmed.

Hardy’s cause of death has not been determined, according to Allen County Coroner’s Office investigator Rebecca Stuttle. A city employee found his body in the Maumee River Wednesday afternoon.

“Everything is still under investigation,” Stuttle said.

Hardy, 31, was a second-round pick (No. 41 overall) by the Buffalo Bills in the 2008 NFL draft. He had 10 catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns in two seasons. He also spent time with the Baltimore Ravens, though he never appeared in a regular-season game for the team, before playing in the Arena Football League.

"We are saddened to learn of the passing of James Hardy today," the Bills wrote in a statement Thursday. "We send our condolences to the Hardy family as they deal with this tragic loss."

A standout at Indiana who first joined the school to play basketball, Hardy still holds the Hoosiers' records for career receptions, yards and touchdown catches.

In May 2014, Hardy was arrested for after attacking three police officers, but a judge ruled he was not mentally competent to stand trial.
AP Jun-04-2017 154 0
Authorities say former Los Angeles Lakers player and ex-New York Knicks head coach Derek Fisher has been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after he flipped his vehicle on a California highway.

The California Highway Patrol says neither Fisher nor his passenger, former “Basketball Wives” reality star Gloria Govan, were injured in the crash early Sunday.

Authorities say Fisher was driving on US 101 in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles when his 2015 Cadillac veered onto the right shoulder while approaching an interchange.

The car hit the shoulder’s concrete curb and guardrail, overturned and came to a rest on its roof.

The Highway Patrol says officers discovered that Fisher had been drinking and he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Amara Grautski May-31-2017 80 0
While LeBron James is gearing up for the NBA Finals, a Los Angeles home owned by the Cavaliers superstar was vandalized with the N-word spray-painted on its front gate, according to police.

Detectives are investigating the incident as a potential hate crime, with police arriving at the house early Wednesday morning after receiving a vandalism call at 6:44 a.m. local time, LAPD Officer Norma Eisenman told the Daily News. 

Eisenman added that a racial slur was painted over by property management.

“Oh, it’s a hate crime. It’s a person who has a problem with him, obviously, ” a source at LAPD’s West LA division told The News, confirming it was the N-word. “It’s an active case right now and detectives are there, going over the scene, looking for any video.”

Investigators are hoping security footage from James’ neighbors could help identify the unknown culprits.

“No suspects right now,” the source said, adding that there haven’t been any other recent incidents like it in the neighborhood.

James, who spends a lot of time in Cleveland, was not at the house, which was purchased in 2015, at the time of the incident.

“He wasn’t there. He has a game to play tomorrow night in the Bay Area,” the source said. “I think he’s concerned about that championship win right now, not his property.”

James and the Cavaliers face off against the Warriors at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, Calif. on Thursday at 9 p.m. This is LeBron’s seventh consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.
A.J. Perez May-30-2017 347 0
Tiger Woods needed to be woken up by an officer as his Mercedes was found stopped on a Florida roadway early Monday morning, before he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to court and police records.

"It should be noted (that) Woods was asleep at the wheel and had to be woken up" the arresting officer said in the police report. "The vehicle was running and the brake lights were illuminated as well as the right blinker flashing."

A breath blood alcohol test administered showed no signs that Woods had alcohol in his system, although he failed a field sobriety test after his vehicle was found “stopped on the roadway at 2:03 a.m. Monday in the right-hand lane and right shoulder” in Jupiter, Fla. Woods was cited for improper parking, along with the driving under the influence citation. 

"Woods stated he didn't know where he was," the officer wrote. 

Woods told the officer he "takes several prescriptions." 

Woods couldn't complete several tasks during the field sobriety test, including reciting the national anthem backwards. The officer wrote that Woods appeared, "Sluggish, sleepy, unable to walk alone.”

Woods, 41, is scheduled to be arraigned in Palm Beach County circuit court on July 5.

Woods claimed in a statement that the DUI arrest was the result of "an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications" and not due to the consumption of alcohol. Police didn't specify the chemical or substance that led to the DUI arrest.

“I understand the severity of what I did, and I take full responsibility for my actions," Woods said in a statement released to USA TODAY Sports and other outlets Monday evening.  "I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved. What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.”

Woods, who owns a home on Jupiter Island, was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail at  7:18 a.m. ET on a single count of driving under the influence. He was released on his own recognizance at 10:50 a.m.

"I fully cooperated with law enforcement, and I would like to personally thank the representatives of the Jupiter Police Department and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office for their professionalism,” Woods said in the statement. 
jill martin May-29-2017 82 0
Golf legend Tiger Woods was arrested around 3 a.m. Monday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence in Jupiter, Florida, Jupiter police spokeswoman Kristin Rightler said.

Woods was booked into a local jail and released on his own recognizance with no bond a few hours later, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office's online records.

Woods, 41, who has undergone multiple back surgeries in recent years, hasn't played competitive golf since he was forced to pull out of the Dubai Desert Classic in February.

His most recent operation was just more than a month ago when he underwent fusion surgery on his back. Woods said in a blog post published Wednesday that "it was instant nerve relief."

"I haven't felt this good in years," he said.

Woods also said in the post that his long-term prognosis for returning to professional golf is positive, but that he won't be able to twist his back for another two to three months.

"Right now, my sole focus is rehab and doing what the doctors tell me," he wrote. "I am concentrating on short-term goals.

"I want to thank my doctors for their great work and support throughout this process. I also want to thank the fans for your phenomenal support. It means more than you know. There's a long way to go, but as I said, words cannot convey how good it feels to be pain-free."
Lindsay H. Jones May-23-2017 364 0
Seahawks Hall of Fame defensive lineman Cortez Kennedy has died at age 48, TMZ first reported.
Orlando police confirmed Kennedy’s death to TMZ and the Blytheville Courier News, saying there was "nothing suspicious" about it. An investigation is ongoing.

Kennedy played 11 years with the Seahawks and made eight Pro Bowls and five All-Pro teams after being drafted out of Miami in 1990. He was the 1992 Defensive Player of the Year. Kennedy was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012.

Luther Campbell, better known as Uncle Luke, remembered his late friend on Twitter.

Kennedy totaled 58 sacks and 568 tackles over the course of his career.
Andrew Blankstein May-22-2017 98 0
After nearly a decade behind bars, O.J. Simpson could be released from prison this year.

Simpson is set to face a parole hearing this July, according to the Nevada Department of Corrections. His actual hearing date won't be set until mid-June.

The former NFL star has been serving 33 years in a Nevada prison on burglary and kidnapping charges unrelated to the so-called "trial of the century" that transfixed America following the murder of Simpson's ex-wife and her friend in 1994.

Simpson was sentenced in 2008 for the burglary, thirteen years to the day that he was famously acquitted of the California murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. The case has remained open and Simpson cannot be retried for the murders.
Simpson was found liable for the killings in a 1997 civil case.

Simpson was granted parole on some of the charges against him in 2013 for the incident that involved the armed robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers at a Las Vegas hotel room, but he faced at least four more years in prison on sentences that were ordered to run consecutively.
Simpson could be released as early as October, depending on the results of the July hearing, officials have said.

Typically, parole hearings in Nevada come a few months before the official parole date.
Former Chairman Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners Thomas Patton said Monday that the board's current options were to "grant release on parole, deny parole at this time and reconsider OJ for parole at a later date, or deny parole and require OJ to serve the remainder of his final sentence."

"State law requires that the board consider the severity of the crime and various risk and other factors before deciding whether or not to grant parole," Patton said in a statement.
"The board members are intelligent professionals and I am confident they will arrive at a very carefully considered decision," he added. "And unlike some I cannot and have no desire to try to predict the outcome."

The charges Simpson was granted parole on in 2013 were two kidnapping charges, two robbery charges an burglary with a firearm, according to parole board documents.
Stephen rex brown May-18-2017 136 0
Racist managers at the high-end shoe designer Gianvito Rossi gave tennis superstar Serena Williams a smaller discount than ones granted white celebrities because the company does not want black women wearing its merchandise, a former employee alleges in a new suit.

Whitney Wilburn, who was hired to oversee Rossi's boutique business, alleges in a suit filed Thursday in Manhattan Supreme Court that she was marginalized and eventually fired because of the racism of Grace Mazzilli, the company's global retail director.

As an example of the alleged racism, Wilburn points to managers' reaction when Williams' staff asked for a discount on her "extensive purchases," papers read.

"Gianvito Rossi managers responded with racially disparaging comments about Ms. Williams which made it clear that the company did not want African-American women to wear its shoes," according to the suit.

Adam Jones fires back at Curt Schilling for doubting racial slurs
The managers called Williams "disgusting" and initially refused to offer any discount, papers read. Only after a "contact" at Vogue magazine intervened did the store grant the discount.

"They offered only a fraction of the discount that white celebrities typically receive," papers read.
Whitney Wilburn, who was hired to oversee Rossi's boutique business, alleges in a suit filed Thursday that she was marginalized because of the racism of Grace Mazzilli, the company's global retail director. Wilburn, 46, alleges that Mazzilli reduced her responsibilities, sabotaged her work and eventually fired in January "without rational basis." She'd been on the job less than two years.

"White employees were not subject to such treatment," the suit says.

Tulsa Mayor says city’s ‘greatest issue’ is racial disparity
An email to Gianvito Rossi's press office was not returned. Mazzilli could not be reached. Wilburn's attorney, Eric Baum, declined comment.

An email to reps for Williams was also not returned.
ap May-16-2017 116 0
Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones pleaded guilty Tuesday to a single misdemeanor charge from an altercation this year, the latest in a history of off-the-field legal issues for the NFL veteran.

Municipal Court Judge Dwane Mallory dismissed misdemeanor counts of assault and disorderly conduct at the prosecutor's request after a plea agreement. He sentenced Jones to time already served -- two days -- on the obstructing official business count. Police said he kicked and used head-butting as he was arrested for allegedly assaulting a downtown hotel employee.

However, Jones, who has twice had lengthy suspensions in his career, still faces potential NFL discipline.

"We have been monitoring developments in this matter, which continues to be reviewed under the personal conduct policy," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said via email. "We have no timetable on any potential discipline."

Jones, 33, apologized in court for his behavior and specifically to Cincinnati police Sgt. Jarrod Cotton. Police video showed Jones in the back of a police cruiser making profane comments and telling the officer: "I hope you die tomorrow." His attorneys said he has been receiving treatment, including for anger management.

"I truly apologize for what I did, my actions," Jones said. "I'm trying to get better every day."
He said he also wanted to apologize "to all the kids" for not setting a better example.

The judge cited Jones' apologies among a "multitude of factors" for his sentence.

"I don't take into account celebrity," the judge told The Associated Press. "I have 99 percent non-celebrities in my court."

The Hamilton County prosecutor earlier dismissed a felony count alleging Jones spit on a jail nurse.
He was suspended as a Tennessee Titan by the NFL throughout the 2007 season, then was suspended again during the 2008 season as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Jones pleaded an equivalent of no contest to a misdemeanor charge of conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct in a 2007 Las Vegas strip club melee. Jones was blamed for instigating violence that led to the shooting by someone else of two club employees, one left paralyzed from the waist down. He was ordered to pay more than $12.4 million in damages.

The Titans made the Atlanta native the sixth overall pick out of West Virginia University in the 2005 draft. His NFL career was in doubt by the time the Bengals signed him in 2010.
SI Wire May-12-2017 113 0
Former NFL linebacker Rolando McClain was arrested in Alabama and charged with numerous offenses, including weapons and drug charges, according to Morgan County, Alabama Sheriff's Department.

According to the Decatur Daily, McClain was part of a traffic stop in which officers pulled over a vehicle for a window tint violation

Officers smelled marijuana upon approaching the vehicle and conducted a search.

McClain was found with marijuana and he also had a firearm without a permit.

He subsequently charged with second-degree possession of marijuana, carrying a firearm without a permit and a misdemeanor equipment and was being held in the Morgan County jail on a $2,000 bail.

The 27-year-old was drafted in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft by the Oakland Raiders and also signed with the Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys.

The NFL suspended McClain indefinitely in December for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, which was his third suspension since the end of the 2014 season.

He will be unable to reapply for reinstatement until November.

Thomas Lott Apr-28-2017 234 0
Nike, Adidas and Under Armour, the three most notable shoe companies for NBA players, currently have no interest in signing Lonzo Ball to a deal, ESPN.com reports.

LaVar Ball, Lonzo's father, confirmed the three major shoe companies were moving on. LaVar is seeking something beyond a traditional endorsement deal for his son, telling the shoe companies he wants them to license his Big Baller Brand.

LaVar has previously put a $1 billion price tag on a combined shoe deal for Lonzo and his two younger sons.

"Never in the history of modern day shoe endorsements have the big companies all stepped away from a potential top pick nearly two months before the NBA draft," ESPN's Darren Rovell wrote. "But the proposition that LaVar, who has been representing Lonzo on the deal, was offering also has no precedence."

But LaVar Ball is not one to give up. He has other shoe companies on his mind and is looking as far as China to find a deal for his son.

"Ball said he will reach out to the Chinese brands, which include Peak, Li-Ning and Anta, and he's not counting out taking on an entrepreneurial partner outside the business," Rovell continued.
Lonzo Ball is currently projected to go No. 2 overall in the draft by Chad Ford.
Vincent Frank Apr-26-2017 144 0
Long considered a lock to go in the top five, former Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster has seen his stock take a major tumble in the week leading up to the event. Earlier in the year, Foster was sent home from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis after getting into a heated argument with a hospital worker. Then, last week, reports surfaced that Foster tested positive for a diluted urine sample at the combine itself.

Now potentially set to fall completely out of the first round, Foster has not been invited to the draft in Philadelphia this week.

“Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster was not invited to attend the 2017 NFL draft because of an incident at the NFL scouting combine in March, ESPN’s Katherine Terrell reported on Tuesday.

As Terell notes, the non-invite stems from the aforementioned altercation in Indy earlier this year. Though, there’s surely reason to believe that the NFL bypassed on inviting this former All-American linebacker because of how bad it would look if he were still in the green room waiting for his named to be called following Thursday’s first round.
Peter Burke Apr-24-2017 137 0
The father of a former Florida State University football star was killed during the weekend in an accidental shooting at a South Florida adult nightclub, authorities said.

Darryl Rudolph was found early Saturday in a back storage room at Sugar Daddy's Cabaret in West Palm Beach with a gunshot wound, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Teri Barbera said.

Barbera said Rudolph, 55, was taken to St. Mary's Medical Center, where he later died.

A search of the Palm Beach County medical examiner's office website shows that Rudolph died Saturday.

Rudolph is the father of former Florida State wide receiver Travis Rudolph, who left school early to declare for the upcoming NFL draft.

Travis Rudolph, who graduated from Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach, made headlines last year after he ate with an autistic boy who was sitting alone while the Seminoles were visiting a Tallahassee middle school.

Barbera said an investigation determined that Darryl Rudolph was at the club repairing items when he was shot. She said the gunshot came from an adjacent room while another co-worker was moving a gun off a shelf.

Although the investigation continues, Barbera said the shooting was accidental
Jason Lisk Apr-20-2017 272 0
Cyrus Kouandjio, offensive lineman for the Buffalo Bills and former Alabama player, was part of what is called a "bizarre incident," according to Vic Carucci. Kouandjio was found a short distance from the scene of an accident, having abandoned his vehicle. He was in a field "not fully clothed", after climbing an electric fence, and allegedly yelled "shoot me" at an Erie County Sheriff's deputy.

Kouandjio was not arrested, and was transported to a medical facility for observation. No explanation has been offered for Kouandjio's behavior, and the team has issued the following statement:

"We are aware of the matter involving Cyrus and are carefully monitoring his condition and gathering more information," the Bills said in a statement. "We don't have all of the details, so we won't have any further comment at this time."
AP Apr-19-2017 129 0
Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez, who was serving a life sentence for a murder conviction and just days ago was acquitted of a double murder, died after hanging himself in his prison cell early Wednesday, Massachusetts prisons officials said.

Hernandez, 27, was found by guards in his cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley just after 3 a.m., Department of Correction spokesman Christopher Fallon said in a statement.

The former New England Patriots tight end was pronounced dead at UMass Memorial-HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster about an hour later.

Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population housing unit in the maximum security state prison. He hanged himself using a bed sheet that he attached to a cell window, Fallon said.

Hernandez tried to block the cell door from the inside by jamming the door with various items, Fallon said.

Fallon said he's not aware of any suicide note written by Hernandez and stressed that an investigation is ongoing. He said that officials had no concern that Hernandez was planning on taking his own life, and if there was a concern about his well-being, Hernandez would have been transferred to a mental health unit.

Hernandez was moved to tears on Friday after he was acquitted of the 2012 fatal shootings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston. Just before his acquittal, Hernandez was seen blowing kisses to the little girl he fathered with fianc?e Shayanna Jenkins. Cameras captured the tender exchange.

But, Hernandez was still serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for his conviction in the 2013 shooting of Odin Lloyd, who was dating his fiancee's sister.

Hernandez's lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hernandez's death comes the same day the Patriots are making their visit to the White House today to mark their Super Bowl win. Team spokesman Stacey James said the Patriots were aware of the reports of Hernandez's death but didn't anticipate the club commenting Wednesday.

Massachusetts State Police remain on the scene investigating the death.
KEVIN McGILL Apr-18-2017 151 0
It was a road-rage confrontation that cost former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith his life. Now, more than a year later, the man who pumped eight bullets into Smith is about to learn his punishment.

Cardell Hayes, 29, appeared to have caught something of a break at his December trial when a jury rejected the prosecution's push for a second-degree murder verdict, which would have meant mandatory life in prison.

But New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said soon afterward that he believes Hayes deserves a 60-year sentence: the maximum 40 years for Smith's death, to be followed by another 20 for attempted manslaughter in the wounding of Smith's wife Racquel.

Wednesday's sentencing hearing set for state District Judge Camille Buras' courtroom is likely to echo the drama of Hayes's trial, including testimony from Racquel Smith about the effect the shooting had on her and her three children.

"You'll see a Cliff's Notes version of the trial," predicts Donald "Chick" Foret, a criminal attorney and legal analyst.

And it will likely draw a crowd, including local sports figures. Saints stars past and present — including coach Sean Payton, quarterback Drew Brees and former running back Deuce McAllister — often dropped in to the trial to show support for Smith's friends and family.

Smith was cast during the trial not only as a football hero — part of the Saints team that lifted the stricken city's spirits after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the one that won a Super Bowl in 2010 — but also a beloved community leader who settled in New Orleans after retirement.

Expect the defense to again characterize Hayes, a former semi-pro football player and the owner of a tow truck business, as the affable, loving father to his 6-year-old son. The defense has noted the absence of any serious criminal record and has said Hayes feared for his life when he encountered a drunken, belligerent Smith following a traffic crash on the night of April 9, 2016.

Jurors heard at trial that Hayes's Hummer had rear-ended Smith's Mercedes SUV that night, shortly after the SUV appeared to have tapped the rear of Hayes's car.

Although prosecutors said Hayes deliberately rammed Smith's vehicle, Hayes insisted he was trying to get Smith's license number when the second crash occurred. The jury appeared to believe Hayes on this point, finding him not guilty of aggravated criminal damage to property.

Hayes said he armed himself only after he and his own passenger were accosted by Smith and Richard Hernandez, a passenger in Smith's Mercedes. He insisted he fired at Smith, hitting him once in the side and seven times in the back, only because he believed Smith had retrieved a gun from the SUV. He insisted on the stand that he heard a "pop" before he started shooting and that he did not shoot at Racquel Smith, who was hit in the legs.

A gun was found in Smith's SUV — loaded but unfired. There was no other witness and no forensic evidence to back up Hayes' claim that Smith was armed.

Prosecutors have acknowledged that the former Saint had a high blood-alcohol level after spending a day at the city's annual French Quarter festival and the evening dining and drinking with friends. But they said he did nothing to provoke the shooting.

For all the expected emotion, legal experts say there is little chance Buras will be influenced by either side. She presided over the trial and is familiar with all the issues raised in pre-hearing motions and a pre-sentence report she ordered.

"She's well aware of the facts of the case," said attorney and Loyola University law professor Dane Ciolino. "There's not going to be a whole lot that can be said."

Ciolino said Buras likely will have a sentence in mind when she enters the courtroom.
Foret agrees. "Most judges have their minds made up when they take the bench the morning of sentencing," he said. "I would be very surprised if either the state or the defense will present any information to Judge Buras that will significantly change the sentence that she is prepared to impose."

AP Apr-17-2017 149 0
A Santa Clara County judge has dismissed a rape charge against former San Francisco 49er Ray McDonald after prosecutors said the woman who made the allegation refused to testify.

Judge David A. Cena dismissed the charge -- one count of rape of an intoxicated person -- on Monday. Santa Clara County prosecutor Chris Lamiero said in a statement he tried to convince the victim to testify, but she refused.

The woman said she slipped and fell on a pool deck at McDonald's San Jose home in December 2014 and continued to fall after that because of her initial head injury and alcohol consumption. She accused McDonald of carrying her upstairs to his bedroom and sexually assaulting her.
McDonald faced a maximum of eight years in prison.
Adam Himmelsbach Apr-16-2017 372 0
Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas’s younger sister, Chyna Thomas, was killed in a car accident in Washington state early Saturday morning, a source close to the family confirmed.

According to Washington State Patrol spokesman Nick King, the one-car crash involving Chyna Thomas’s 1998 Toyota Camry occurred at about 5 a.m. on Interstate 5 in Federal Way, Wash., which is about 15 miles northeast of Thomas’s hometown of Tacoma.

King said that two witnesses observed the car slowly veer onto a patch of grass on the left shoulder of the road before striking a cement structure. Chyna Thomas, 22, died at the scene of the accident, King said.

“Still doesn’t seem real,” said the source close to the Thomas family. “Absolutely devastating.”

Chyna Thomas is the daughter of Thomas’s father, James, and stepmother, Lanita.

Isaiah Thomas took part in the Celtics’ practice on Saturday afternoon in advance of Game 1 of their opening-round playoff series against the Bulls, and was not aware of the accident at the time. As of Saturday night, Thomas was planning to stay in Boston for the game on Sunday, the source close to the family said.

“We are terribly saddened by the tragic loss of Chyna Thomas,” the Celtics said in a statement. “The thoughts and prayers of the entire Celtics organization are with Isaiah and his family.”

This season Thomas was named an NBA All-Star for the second consecutive year. He averaged 28.9 points and 5.8 assists per game and led the Celtics to the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

After Friday’s practice, he spoke excitedly about getting a fresh chance on the NBA’s biggest stage.

“I’m ready for it,” he said.
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