Judge drops felony count aganst Ravens' Suggs

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs scored a legal victory in his ongoing felony aggravated assault trial as an Arizona judge dismissed the most serious charge against him, eliminating the possibility that the Pro Bowl pass rusher will face a mandatory prison sentence.

Suggs' case stems from a March 29, 2003 fight at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, weeks before the Ravens drafted him 10th overall out of Arizona State.

Suggs and co-defendant Roberto Castro-Sanchez stood accused of hitting Anthony Henrie with a metal rebar.

Suggs' defense team called two eyewitnesses who described the instigator of the fight as a white man. And Jeryme Cook, who is white and named as a victim in the case, testified he exchanged words with Suggs. He claims that Suggs threw the first punch, knocking him unconscious.

David White testified that Cook threw the first punch and Suggs then knocked down Cook and another man before an unidentified man hit Suggs from behind with a metal rebar.

With Judge Michael Wilkinson having thrown out the most serious felony charge citing lack of evidence, Suggs is still accused of beating Henrie and causing him to suffer a 'temporary but substantial disfigurement,' and punching Cook, according to the criminal complaint.

The judge threw out a charge against Suggs' co-defendant, Keith Wilson, because he was 'shocked professionally,' there was so little evidence presented against him by prosecutors.

Suggs' brother, Donald Suggs, still faces a potential mandatory prison sentence, because he is accused of beating people with a baseball bat. One eyewitness testified that it appeared that Suggs, who has generated 22 1/2 sacks through two seasons, was trying to avoid a fight.

Testimony is scheduled to continue through Thursday, and court officials estimate that the trial will conclude June 30.

Suggs turned down prosecutors' plea bargain offer last month, saying he didn't want to "destroy" his name for an allegation he said he's not guilty of.

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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