URBANA - Illinois junior guard Kendrick Nunn plead not guilty to two misdemeanor charges of domestic battery during his arraignment hearing Friday afternoon at the Champaign County Courthouse.
Nunn is scheduled back in court on April 20 for a pretrial hearing. He has been suspended indefinitely from the basketball team, pending the legal process.
Nunn is charged with a count of domestic battery that caused bodily harm and a count of domestic battery making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature. Nunn allegedly struck a woman in the head in her apartment on Wednesday evening and pushed her head to the floor and held her by the neck. Nunn allegedly poured water on the woman's face as well.
Each charge carries a punishment that ranges from 364 days in prison to probation. He was ordered to not have contact with the woman.
Nunn, 20, was arrested on Thursday and charged with domestic battery. He was booked in Champaign County Jail at 5:44 p.m. and released after posting a $500 bond at 9:45 p.m. Thursday.
Nunn's attorney, Anthony Bruno, told reporters after the hearing that Nunn "today is not guilty in the eyes of the law."
"We all owe Kendrick Nunn the presumption of innocence," Bruno said. "To deny him that presumption is to trample on the rights we as Americans hold."
Bruno said he has not seen a police report yet and that the burden is on the state's attorney to provide evidence of a crime rather than hearsay. He added that it "may come out that things the state's attorney relied on" to make the arrest "are not be reliable."
"We're on what may be a long path," Bruno said, "But as he stands here today, he is not guilty."
Nunn, wearing an orange and blue tie, and his parents declined to speak to reporters.
Nunn is the second Illinois basketball player to be arrested on a domestic battery charge in the last week, and he is the fourth Illini player to be arrested since August. Fellow Simeon product Jaylon Tate was arrested last Saturday, and he plead not guilty to a misdemeanor domestic battery charge in court on Monday. Illini sophomore forward Leron Black was arrested on Feb. 20 and charged with aggravated assault.
According to a report from The News-Gazette, Nunn allegedly struck a women in her apartment on Wednesday evening. A warrant was issued for his arrest on Thursday after the alleged victim told police of the incident. First Assistant State's Attorney Steve Ziegler told The News-Gazette that Nunn allegedly "struck her around the head, pushed her to the floor and held her by the neck".
Nunn averaged 15.5 points and five rebounds per game in his junior season.
Illini coach John Groce and athletics director Josh Whitman on Thursday released a joint statement addressing Nunn's situation.
“Kendrick Nunn has been suspended indefinitely from all team-related activities pending legal proceedings and an investigation into allegations of domestic battery. Once again, we encourage everyone to allow the legal process to work before passing judgment. We are striving for a championship culture across our entire athletics program. Obviously, yesterday’s event is the latest in a series of conduct issues involving our men’s basketball team. We are working diligently to ensure that our men’s basketball team is representative of the high ideals that we uphold in Illinois Athletics.”