Guilty pleas entered in UTM assault case
Posted: Friday, May 1, 2009 10:04 am
Former University of Tennessee at Martin football player Dontrell Miller plead guilty to simple assault Wednesday with Willie Blount in Weakley County General Sessions Court in the assault last month of Pi Kappa Alpha freshman Tyler Turner.
The charges against Roren Thomas were dismissed, who was charged with criminal responsibility for conduct of another.
Miller and Blount were sentenced to 10 days in the Weakley County Detention Center, supervised probation for one year and ordered to pay costs and restitution to Tyler Turner, who was assaulted in the parking lot of the Pike fraternity house.
Miller and Blount will begin their sentence on May 29 and then will return to General Sessions Court on July 30 for a review of their case.
The men were accused of beating TylerTurner, who was assaulted by “multiple men who were wearing black ski masks” in late March in the parking lot of the fraternity house. He was treated at Volunteer Community Hospital for his injuries.
Kim Turner, mother of the victim said, “We are basically pleased with them being punished, but we are not pleased with the punishment.”
“We do not consider the punishment fitting the crime,” she added. “We have to accept this.” She says she is pleased her son is physically doing well, but she said that there was still some emotional concern for his well being.
Tyler Turner’s attorney, Kent Gearin, said the family is “reasonably pleased with the outcome.” He also said that the family looked at the “practicality and the probability of outcome” in pursuing the charges further.
His attack came on a Thursday evening after a party was held at the fraternity house the nightbefore.
Former Skyhawk football player and fellow Pike member Justin Burlison said that there was a tussle in the house during a party where racial slurs were overheard. Burlison said he called the football player who was targeted, Bryan Sommers, and apologized verbally for the whole house.
“We thought this was settled the night before,” Burlison said.
Tyler Turner said he was not there during the incident but that he heard “there was some people angry about some racist stuff going on”
It was the next night that he was attacked. The assault was explained in a letter from Kim Turner to The Press after the incident saying people were “beating his face into the hood of a car and dragging him down the side of this truck leaving blood running off the hood of his truck.”
According to the initial incident report from the Martin Police Department, Miller, Blount and Thomas confessed after being read their Miranda rights immediately following the assault.
Kim Turner once again thanked the witnesses who spoke to the police after the assault.
Eric Davis of the Cochran Law Firm of Birmingham, Ala. represented Miller. Kent Hamblin assisted Blount with the paperwork of the plea agreement as he was without representation.
Miller and Thomas were both starters on the UT Martin Skyhawks football team last season and were expected to return to the team this year. Both men have been not only dismissed from the team, but also expelled from UT Martin.