Illini guard Jaylon Tate will not go to trial after his domestic violence case was dismissed by State's Attorney Julia Rietz on Thursday, according to a breaking report by WCIA.
Tate was arrested on March 12 and charged with domestic battery for allegedly striking a member of the Illinois women's softball team. He was due back in court on June 7 for the beginning of trial after a pretrial hearing a few weeks ago.
"This case is over today because Jaylon Tate never did anything wrong in the first place," attorney Evan Bruno told WCIA. "I hope the people who passed judgment on him will come to accept the fact that Jaylon Tate was, is and always will be completely innocent."
Rietz told The News-Gazette that this case has come to a close due to a lack of convicting evidence.
"We don't believe a jury would convict based on the evidence we have at this time," Rietz said. "We have spoken to all the parties and they would like to move on from this without proceeding to a jury trial."
This comes one day after fellow teammate and Simeon product Kendrick Nunn reached a plea agreement, in which he plead guilty to one count of misdemeanor battery. Nunn has been sentenced to 18 months of court supervision, 100 hours of community service, enrollment in a partner abuse program and a $200 fine. If Nunn completes the terms of the agreement, the conviction will be erased from his record.
The Illinois men's basketball team has yet to issue a ruling on Nunn's future, as he remains indefinitely suspended. Tate was indefinitely suspended as well, but that figures to be reversed immediately.
Illini Inquirer publisher Jeremy Werner talked with Tate's attorney Evan Bruno on the "Tay and J Show" on Thursday afternoon. Hear the interview in the podcast below (skip ahead to 42:00).
This is a big positive for Tate and the Illini that goes beyond the game of basketball. Tate is a beloved member of the program by his coaches and teammates. Illini head coach John Groce remained supportive of Tate throughout the process.
Furthermore, this provides justice for Tate from a personal standpoint. This is exactly why Groce and athletic director Josh Whitman held steady instead of making decision before the legal proceedings.
On the court, Tate averaged 1.9 points and 2.6 assists per game last season. He started 15 contests and played 17.5 minutes per game. Tate is just a 33 percent shooter during his collegiate career, but he provides experience and depth at the point guard spot. The Illini need that depth with their other two point guards coming off major injuries.
Tracy Abrams is expected to be granted a sixth year of eligibility after missing a second straight season. He tore his Achilles tendon in his left leg last July. Four-star point guard signee Te'Jon Lucas will enroll next month, and he is rehabbing after suffering a fractured ankle in February.
If Nunn returns as well, Illinois will be one of the most veteran-laden teams in college basketball next season with six seniors.