NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The attorney for LSU running back Jeremy Hill says a brief mobile phone video showing Hill punching another man does not show important events that precipitated the fight.
"There's no denying he's on the video, but the video is 15 seconds long and certainly doesn't tell you everything that happened that evening," Marci Blaize said Thursday. "In my experience and the cases I've had, there's usually a reason why a person will strike another individual and I can tell you that's the case here."
Hill was arrested early Saturday morning and booked with misdemeanor simple battery after the bar fight, which could cost the leading LSU rusher his sophomore season — if not more. Hill already was on probation stemming from his plea of misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile, stemming from a 2010 incident with a girl at his high school.
Blaize said her client was heckled about his past legal trouble before the part of the fight caught on video.
On Monday, LSU coach Les Miles indefinitely suspended Hill, who is free on bond. Miles said he does not intend to comment further on Hill's long-term future with the Tigers until after the legal resolution of the matter.
Meanwhile, Baton Rouge police Lt. Don Kelly said Thursday that a second, unidentified suspect, who knocked the victim out after Hill's initial punch, does not appear to be an LSU football player.
"We're making progress toward identifying a second suspect, and while I cannot rule out some connection to the LSU athletic department, based on what we know now, there does not apppear to be one," Kelly said.
Blaize said she has witness interviews lined up in the next few days and is in the process of establishing a more complete picture of what precipitated the altercation.
"Basically, it is the interaction between my client and groups of people that were out, what was said to my client by those individuals and how it led up to the ultimate event, which is what you see on that video," she said.
According to police, Hill punched the alleged victim in the side of the head. Then the second, unidentified suspect — who Kelly said could be charged with second-degree battery — knocked the alleged victim unconscious.
The video, which is considered evidence and not public record at this time, also showed Hill exchanging "high fives" with the second suspect and others after the man they punched was on the ground, Kelly said.
Blaize, however, said Hill does not know the other suspect.
"The video is clear that they approach the victim at different times," Blaize said. "They're not working in tandem. You can tell they don't know each other."
Police have said Hill, before being shown the video, told officers he was in the vicinity of the bar where the fight took place early Saturday morning, but denied being involved a fight. Then when police showed Hill the video, provided by a witness, Hill still denied being involved and also said he did not know who the other suspect was, Kelly said.
While Blaize did not dispute the content of the video, she said she could not speak for Hill on the matter of what exactly he said to the arresting officers and declined to speculate about why the officers interpreted his statements as they did.
Hill, 20, was LSU's leading rusher with 755 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012, his freshman season. His college career was delayed a year after he was arrested in early 2011 for an alleged sexual assault on a 14-year-old girl. After he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, he was able to enroll at LSU and play football last season, emerging as the Tigers most effective running back after season-opening starter Alfred Blue's season-ending knee injury in LSU's third game.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.
Posted on Fri, May 3, 2013