Pacman to accept plea deal in Vegas triple shooting
LAS VEGAS -- Suspended Tennessee Titans cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones is prepared to take a plea deal that will get him probation in a Las Vegas strip club triple shooting in an attempt to salvage his career.
Under the written plea agreement obtained by The Associated Press, Jones intends to plead no contest to one charge of conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct, a gross misdemeanor, in return for a promise to suspend a sentence of one year in county jail.
Las Vegas police identified Jones as the person who incited a Feb. 19 fight inside the Minxx Gentlemen's Club minutes before three people were shot outside.
Jones' Atlanta-based attorney Manny Arora said Tuesday the defense team believes Jones would have won a trial on two felony counts of coercion for inciting a fight inside the club. But a trial wouldn't have happened for six months or even a year.
"And he may have lost another year of eligibility by going forward. In the real world, sometimes you have to make these difficult decisions for what's best for your career, and we didn't want this dragging on any further," Arora said.
Even so, the deal won't help 24-year-old Jones get back into the NFL this season.
Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Jones for the season in April for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Off to a 6-3 start, the Titans haven't missed Jones and said last week the team would address Jones' future when he's reinstated.
Goodell and Jones met Nov. 2 to discuss the suspension, but Goodell chose not to shorten Jones' punishment.
The Las Vegas shooting case was a factor in that decision, and the NFL Players Association is asking Goodell to reconsider. Arora said he hopes the NFL recognizes this plea says Jones "didn't even commit any disorderly conduct in the club."
"Our biggest emphasis was to clear him of any involvement in the shooting whatsoever," Arora said.
The NFL declined to comment Tuesday.
Clark County prosecutor Victoria Villegas confirmed they had an agreement but declined to talk about negotiations until the deal is filed with the court.
Under the deal, Jones will plead to the gross misdemeanor in exchange for a suspended one-year jail sentence. He also must attend an anger management program, complete 200 hours of community service within a year and submit to random drug testing. Jones already is subject to the NFL's drug testing program.
Jones' attorney, Robert Langford, was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday to inform Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Tony Abbatangelo of the plea, but the hearing was rescheduled for Thursday.
Villegas said the delayed hearing was the result of a scheduling mishap.
Jones, who's not expected to attend Thursday's hearing, will be expected to testify at a later date about what he knows.
Police still haven't identified a suspect in the shooting, which wounded three people and left bar employee Tommy Urbanski paralyzed from the waist down.
Langford would not say if Jones could identify the gunman and said he could not comment because of the ongoing police investigation.
"He has agreed to testify in whatever hearings come up regarding the shooter," Langford said.
But Langford said Jones did not know the identity of a man whose photo was released by police in June. The photo was obtained from surveillance cameras, and police want to question the man, who they think lives on the East Coast.
News of Jones' plea deal surprised Urbanski's wife, Kathy, as she prepared for work Tuesday. She said she wants to see who Jones implicates in the shooting and promised she would be furious if he doesn't.
"Our lives are thrown into upheaval because of this, and the fact people don't want to take accountability for their actions is very, very frustrating," she said.
Two of Jones' co-defendants also plan to agree to plea deals, Langford said.
Robert "Big Bob" Reid, 37, of Carson, Calif., is expected to plead no contest to conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct and face a suspended jail sentence. Sadia Morrison, 25, of New York, will plead no contest to a felony battery charge in return for dropping other felony charges.
Urbanski, co-worker and bouncer Aaron Cudworth and club patron Natalie Jones each have filed civil lawsuits seeking damages from Jones after being wounded in the shooting.
Urbanski's lawsuit also seeks damages from the NFL, the Titans and the owners of Harlem Knights, a Houston strip club that hosted events at the Minxx club during the NBA's All-Star weekend.
"I'm pleased to see he's accepting responsibility for his conduct on the date in question," said Richard Schonfeld, lawyer for Cudworth. "We're looking forward to proceeding expeditiously with the civil litigation."
Arora said he thinks this deal will help Jones with the civil lawsuits.
Arrested six times since the Titans drafted him in April 2005 from West Virginia, Jones has other criminal cases pending. A felony count of obstruction in Georgia from a February 2006 arrest has been postponed, and public intoxication and disorderly charges in Tennessee from August 2006 were delayed until January pending an outcome in the Las Vegas case.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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NFL'S ZERO TOLERANCE
Roger Goodell is cracking down on the player misconduct that's plagued his term as NFL commissioner, suspending Tennessee's Adam "Pacman" Jones (right) for the 2007 season and Cincinnati's Chris Henry and Tank Johnson (left) for eight games. Henry and Johnson have since been reinstated after serving their penalties.
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