Wednesday, May 6, 2009 | 12:15 p.m.
Former Bishop Gorman standout football player Justin Chaisson, 18, pleaded no contest Wednesday morning to four gross misdemeanors stemming from a March attack on his ex-girlfriend of four years.
The charges include two counts of false imprisonment, one count of conspiracy to commit coercion and one count of malicious destruction of property.
District Judge Stefany Miley of Department 23 accepted the terms of Chaisson’s plea agreement, sentencing him to a maximum of three years probation, 120 hours of community service and a restitution fee of a later determined amount.
The agreement also restricts any contact between Chaisson and the victim and one witness of the crime, both of whom are female classmates of his.
According to Chaisson’s lawyer, Michael Cristalli, the ruling will not have an effect on Chaisson’s athletic scholarship from Oklahoma University which he had accepted before the incident.
“He’s still going to Oklahoma,” Cristalli said. “We were working in conjunction with Oklahoma with these negotiations to make sure they would be comfortable with him going to the university and participating in the program.”
In addition to his sentencing Wednesday, Chaisson will be required to complete one year of domestic violence counselling from a previous sentencing on April 29, where he pleaded no contest to one count of misdemeanor coercion and one count of misdemeanor domestic battery.
Chaisson, who attended Wednesday’s hearing, declined to comment on the case.
According to a police report, on March 17, Chaisson forced his 17-year-old ex-girlfriend into the back seat of his sport utility vehicle in a coffee shop parking lot.
The victim told police Chaisson punched her in the ribs and drove her into the desert where he pulled her from the car. She said he then put a screwdriver to her neck and threatened to kill her until two of her friends pulled up on the scene and he forced her into his car again.
According to the police report, the incident ended when one of the two friends called 911 and Chaisson told his ex-girlfriend to exit his vehicle at a storage facility.
Chaisson will not serve jail time for any of the four felonies he was charged with, given he meets the conditions of his probation.
“This was two young people who were together in a relationship for four years, there were a lot of emotions that went into it,” Cristalli said. “Anybody who remembers their first emotional relationship can understand those types of feelings at 18 years old. She was never placed in a position where Justin was going to hurt her. She was not injured.
“We believe the long discussions had with the state to come to a fair resolution accurately reflects the nature of the circumstances.”
Chaisson notched 148 tackles and 28 sacks in his final two seasons at Bishop Gorman – earning him the distinction of the 73rd best football player in the nation by Rivals.com. The strongside defensive end, who can bench press 395 pounds and squat 500 pounds, chose Oklahoma over Florida, UCLA, Arizona and Iowa.