Ex-Mizzou football captain pleads to assault
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By ALAN SCHER ZAGIER
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) Imprisoned former Missouri running back Derrick Washington pleaded guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor charge of domestic assault against an ex-girlfriend, agreeing to a deal that spares him more time behind bars.
Washington, who currently is in prison for a separate conviction of felony deviate sexual assault involving a former Missouri athletics tutor, was scheduled to stand trial next week on two charges of third-degree assault. His former girlfriend has said Washington hit her in the face five to 10 times and choked her during a late-night argument in September 2010, two months after the tutor's off-campus sexual assault.
Washington did not appear in Boone County Circuit Court as his lawyer entered the plea on his behalf Tuesday. Prosecutors agreed to drop the second assault charge in exchange for the plea, and a judge handed down a 90-day sentence to run concurrently with the felony sentence.
Washington was sentenced in December to five years in prison in the felony case, though he could be released as soon as next month if he successfully completes a 120-day "shock incarceration" program for first-time offenders. He would remain on probation for the duration of his sentence.
Columbia attorney Bogdan Susan said Washington pleaded guilty in hopes of moving on with his life.
Washington's former girlfriend said that on the night of their argument, he spit on dishes in her kitchen sink before grabbing her by the throat while forcing her into a bedroom. He reportedly then climbed on top of her, pinned her arms behind her head and struck her in the face, causing a bloody nose and a bruised forehead.
The woman told police that when she bit Washington's hand in an attempt to fight back, he poked her in the eyes with two fingers "and tried to press her eyeballs into her skull." Washington also threw a drink in her face, spit on her, cut up a poster she made and cornered her in a walk-in closet until a friend arrived to help. Washington left after the friend called police, and he was arrested at his apartment several hours later.
In the felony case, a 24-year-old Missouri graduate who spent two semesters as Washington's athletic department tutor before the alleged assault testified that he entered her bedroom and fondled her while she slept at her off-campus apartment. Washington was visiting the victim's roommate, also a former tutor for Missouri athletes with whom he shared a consensual sexual relationship.
He was convicted in that case in September 2011.
A Kansas City high school football star, Washington was Missouri's leading rusher as a sophomore and junior until he was kicked off the team before his senior year after the accusations surfaced. He was allowed to keep his scholarship but withdrew from school.
Defense attorney Chris Slusher has said Washington harbored NFL dreams and was projected as a fourth-round draft pick before he was charged. He's now a registered sex offender who won't be able to coach youth sports teams or even visit his own child's school without permission.
Alan Scher Zagier can be reached at http://twitter.com/azagier
Updated February 14, 2012