Sat, Oct 14, 2006 - Page 19 News List

`Not guilty' plea filed for Jackson


Indiana Pacers guard Stephen Jackson apologizes after a practice in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Tuesday for his actions during a fight at a strip club. Police say he fired a gun in the air and was slugged in the mouth and hit by a car. Indianapolis police on Tuesday arrested Jackson's attacker, Deon Willford, 23, on several counts, including a felony.


Indiana Pacers swingman Stephen Jackson appeared in court on Thursday and a judge entered a "not guilty" plea on his behalf to charges stemming from a brawl at a strip club last week.

Jackson faces a charge of felony criminal recklessness and two additional misdemeanor charges.

Unshaven and wearing a dark suit, the National Basketball Association player posted a US$10,000 bond and was released.

The hearing officially informed Jackson of the charges against him, which include battery and disorderly conduct.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Nov. 1 and a jury trial date of Jan. 8 has also been set.

However, according to Helen Marchal, chief counsel with the Marion County Prosecutor's Office, Jackson could agree to a plea deal before the case can go to trial.

However, no conversations regarding a deal have taken place, she said.

Criminal recklessness is a felony that carries a sentence of six months to three years.

Jackson was charged for firing his licensed handgun in the air as a car drove toward him and struck him.

Jackson's actions were caught on a security video camera in the club's parking lot, which suggested Jackson had the gun while inside the club.

Police recovered five 9mm shell casings in the parking lot.

No charges were brought against Pacers guards Jamaal Tinsley, Marquis Daniels and Jimmie Hunter for their roles in an incident at Club Rio as it closed early last Friday.

According to police, the players began arguing with another group of men inside the club. As the groups took their argument into the parking lot, Jackson told police he was punched in the mouth.

Another member of the group drove his car toward Jackson, who began firing his gun.

He was hit by the car and knocked onto its hood but was not seriously hurt. He has been practicing with the team in the days since the incident.

The man driving the car, Deon Willford, is in the Marion County Jail and is charged with felonious battery with a deadly weapon and two misdemeanors.

Raymel Mattox, a friend of Tinsley's, was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana that was found in Tinsley's car, misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct.

Daniels and Tinsley told police they had guns in their cars, which they turned over to police. Both players have permits to carry the guns.

According to Marchal, Jackson is still on probation in Michigan after pleading no contest to his role in the melee between fans and players at the Detroit Pistons arena, the Palace of Auburn Hills, on Nov. 19, 2004.

She said authorities in Oakland County are exploring the option of charging Jackson with violating his probation.

That brawl came during a nationally televised game and became one of the most infamous moments in NBA history.

Jackson was suspended for 30 games by the NBA for following teammate Ron Artest into the stands and fighting with fans who had thrown items at the players.

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