Pacers G-F Jackson pleads not guilty to felony

INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) - Instead of being on the court, Stephen Jackson made an appearance in court Thursday.

A day after the troublesome swingman of the Indiana Pacers was charged with felony criminal recklessness and a pair of misdemeanors, a judge entered a not guilty plea for him in Marion County Superior Court.

Jackson was charged for his actions during last week’s confrontation outside a strip club. Unshaven and wearing a dark suit, he posted $10,000 bond and was released.

The hearing officially informed Jackson of the charges against him, which include battery and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for November 1 at 9 a.m. and a jury trial date of January 8 also has been set.

According to Helen Marchal, chief counsel at the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, Jackson could agree to a plea before the case goes to trial but that no conversations regarding a deal have taken place.

Criminal recklessness is a Class D felony that carries a sentence of six months to three years. Jackson was charged for firing his properly licensed gun in the air as a car drove toward him and struck him.

Jackson’s actions were caught on a security video camera in the club’s parking lot which suggested Jackson had the gun while inside the club. Police recovered five 9mm shell casings in the parking lot.

No charges were brought against Pacers guards Jamaal Tinsley, Marquis Daniels and Jimmie “Snap” Hunter for their roles in a violent and dangerous incident at Club Rio as it closed early Friday morning.

According to police, the players began arguing with another group of men inside the club. As the groups moved into the parking lot, Jackson was punched in the mouth.

Another member of the group drove his car toward Jackson, who began firing his gun. He was hit by the car and knocked onto its hood but was not seriously hurt. He has been practicing with the team.

The man driving the car, Deon Willford, is in the Marion County Jail on $80,000 bond, charged with a Class C felony of battery with a deadly weapon and two misdemeanors. Raymel Mattox, a friend of Tinsley’s, was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana that was found in Tinsley’s car, and misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct.

Daniels and Tinsley told police they had guns in their cars, which they turned over to police. Both guns were properly licensed.

According to Marchal, Jackson is still on probation in Michigan after pleading no contest to his role in the melee between fans and players at The Palace of Auburn Hills on November 19, 2004. She said authorities in Oakland County are exploring the option of charging Jackson with violating his probation.

The brawl came in a nationally televised game and was one of the worst moments in league history. Jackson was suspended 30 games by the NBA for following teammate Ron Artest into the stands and fighting with fans who had thrown items at the players.

Jackson did not dress for Wednesday’s 103-89 home preseason victory over New Jersey. His upper lip is still swollen from the punch he took in the altercation.


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Updated Thursday, Oct 12, 2006