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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Court sets trial for Pooka Williams domestic battery charge; diversion discussions continuing

Anthony Ray Williams, Jr., also known as Pooka Williams

Anthony Ray Williams, Jr., also known as Pooka Williams

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A trial date has been set for University of Kansas star football player Pooka Williams, who faces a charge of domestic battery.

On Wednesday in Douglas County District Court, Judge James T. George set Williams' trial for 9 a.m. June 3.

The court had previously granted Williams a diversion in the case, but Williams and the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office have not yet come to an agreement on the terms. Williams’ attorney, Hatem B. Chahine, said he requested that the trial date be moved further out than normal to give Williams and the DA's office more time to come to an agreement on the diversion.

Chahine did not elaborate when the Journal-World asked why an agreement had not yet been made. Williams, whose full name is Anthony Ray Williams, appeared in court with Chahine Wednesday morning.

A diversion is a process whereby someone accused of a crime is “diverted” from the usual legal procedures and instead completes the terms of an agreement, which may include some sort of rehabilitation program or fine. If the program is successfully completed, the criminal charges are dropped.

The charge stems from a Dec. 5 incident in which Williams, 19, is accused of punching an 18-year-old KU student in the stomach.

On Dec. 6, the woman in the case told a KU police officer that Williams punched her in the stomach and grabbed her throat around 12:30 a.m. Dec. 5 when they were at Stouffer Place Apartments, 1835 Ousdahl Road, according to an affidavit.

During the interview, the officer found the woman had bruises on her arms and side, according to the affidavit. She also showed the officer text messages from Williams in which he admitted to punching her in the arms.

The officer interviewed Williams, who reportedly said that he pushed the woman when he saw her in a room with other men at the apartment building. Both Williams and the woman said they were in an intimate relationship.

KU police arrested Williams at the KU Public Safety Office, 1501 Crestline Drive, and he was booked into jail at 3 p.m. Dec. 6.

Williams spent the night in jail and made his first court appearance Dec. 7 in Douglas County District Court. He was formally charged with domestic battery, a misdemeanor.

Chahine entered a not guilty plea on Williams’ behalf. A prosecutor said Williams did not have any criminal history.

George set a $1,000 bond for Williams and ordered him to not make contact with the victim or return to her residence.

KU football coach Les Miles said on Dec. 7 that he was aware of the reported incident and had suspended Williams.

“We are taking these allegations very seriously,” Miles said. “We have suspended Pooka from all team-related activities pending further investigation.”

Earlier this week, KU Athletic Director Jeff Long was asked about the running back’s standing with the team while appearing on the 810 WHB radio show “The Border Patrol.”

“You know, he's involved in the legal system in Lawrence and that process is still going on and then there'll be a campus process as well and that's ongoing,” Long said. “So those things will get tied up and then we'll have a status on where he is with the criminal justice system and where he is with the campus system. And then, frankly we'll have a decision to make in athletics after all that information is in.”

Williams is a freshman running back from New Orleans who arguably became the face of the team during the 2018 season, winning several weekly and season-long awards for his performance on the field.


Editor's note: This story has been edited to correct a time that had been misstated by police in their arrest affidavit. The incident at Stouffer Place Apartments occured at 12:30 a.m. Dec. 5, 2018, according to Cheryl Wright Kunard, assistant to Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson.

Comments

Kevin Robert Fest 9 months, 4 weeks ago

You hit a woman and you don't like the terms offered in a diversion negotiation by the DA. Wow you did the most cowardly thing in society and you think you can negotiate terms. l know its his attorney is wanting the best terms but as a man who hit a woman you're lucky they even offered diversion. That's not a given in these cases. SMH.

Bill Kackley 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Cracks me up that you think that is the most cowardly thing you can do in society. I can think of dozens of things just as cowardly or even more so. What about a 220 pound woman hitting a 120 weak boy

[''] 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Bill's next sentence will be: "We don't know - maybe she deserved it." Man up! I bet he's fun at the holidays scowling at all the moms, aunts and nieces for coming out of the kitchen.

Kevin Robert Fest 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Right? Who tries to come up with something worse than hitting a woman as if there is such a thing short of murder or says women beating men? Class act. Someone actually give his comment a thumbs up. KUFB fans are the best.

Dale Rogers 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Once again, readers here jump on something without first trying to understand what has been said. Bill did NOT try to minimize hitting a woman. He simply said there are worse things. The way some people responded to his comment you could project that they'd jump all over Bill if he said that there are worse things than beating someone unconscious, like murdering them. Geez, people, wake up.

Ray Winger 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Diversion should be 1) Doable, 2) Private as possible, 3) timely. GetRDone! If your Lawyer is dragging his feet for his own reason, ask the Athletic Department to recommend another.

Brian Hosfelt 9 months, 4 weeks ago

One would think 19 year old Pooka would do as his lawyer advises him to do. I believe in second chances and the young man has NO prior criminal record.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Agreed, but at the same time, I would think he'd want to do whatever was necessary to get this done and in the rear view mirror ASAP if he wants to play football again.

Steven Haag 9 months, 4 weeks ago

We don’t even know what the terms were. If they were remotely fair, then he should have jumped all over them. But they may have been way over the top. We don’t know. I will not throw a stone inside my glass house

Kevin Robert Fest 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Wow Steven you and Bill must have had a conversation, do you share the same ignorant brain.. Fair? Geezus Fair? He hit a woman and you want to talk about fair. Would it be inconvenient for him to do what the DA offered no matter what it was. That way he shows responsibility. ls jail a better option? No lets me sure a man who hits a woman isn't to inconvenienced over this whole affair by having to do what the DA wanted. Hitting a woman isn't about getting what is fair. DF. Dont worry lll gladly throw a stone through your glass house. Dont post anymore Steven you're an embarrassment.

Dale Rogers 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Steven seems to be the one who understand our justice system. The rest of you are pronouncing guilt with no knowledge of what really happened. Let the system work itself out, people, and quit pronouncing someone guilty without knowledge of what happened. When all that comes out, THEN we can have a truly informed opinion. Until then anything written in these comments is nothing more than opinion and conjecture.

Creg Bohrer 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Big momma must have smacked little Billy when he was a child. Lol...

Michael Maris 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I'll say this, I have NO idea as to what went down in Pooka's domestic incident. Obviously, he should've used better calming techniques and judgment (like he displays on the football field) in the scenario that took place. But, there are a few individuals who post on this site that I would never to serve on a jury (of my so called peers) with. A quick rush to judgment is not helpful for ANY individual.

If Pooka is guilty of the charges, then he's guilty. But, I am going to let the Douglas County District Attorney's Office and Court System decide the final outcome of Pooka's immediate future.

Dale Rogers 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Right on, Michael. How quick we are to rush to judgment. But if the shoes were reversed...

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