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Affidavit details allegations against former Detroit Lions player Cameron Sutton

Newly released court documents shed more light on the allegations that prompted a judge to issue a felony arrest warrant last month against now-former Detroit Lions defensive back Cameron Sutton.

A Hillsborough judge signed the warrant on March 7 for a charge of domestic battery by strangulation, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office has instead decided to pursue a misdemeanor battery charge, saying that is more appropriate for the evidence available in the case, but has not provided a detailed explanation for the decision.

Sutton turned himself in at the Orient Road Jail in Tampa on Sunday and he was released from jail Monday on his own recognizance. The Hillsborough Clerk of Court on Tuesday released the original felony warrant signed by Hillsborough Judge Lisa Allen and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office probable cause affidavit.

According to the affidavit, Sutton and a woman got into an argument at about 4:45 a.m. on March 7. The address where the incident took place is redacted from the document due to Marsy’s Law, but the sheriff’s office has previously said the incident occurred at Sutton’s home in Lutz.

Sutton and the woman, 35, have been dating for about seven years and have three children in common, according to the affidavit. The Tampa Bay Times is not naming the woman in this story because authorities say she is a domestic violence victim.

During the argument, Sutton picked up the woman and slammed her into a wall, then bit her on the neck, leaving a quarter-sized abrasion that bled, the affidavit states. Sutton then grabbed the woman by the face and neck and choked her, causing her to briefly lose consciousness, according to the affidavit.

The altercation continued into the living room of the home, where Sutton held down the woman by her hair and struck her twice with his fist, causing a knot to form on the woman’s forehead, the affidavit states.

Sutton left the home before deputies arrived, and repeated attempts to reach him by phone at the time were unsuccessful, according to previously released information.

Prosecutors on Monday closed the felony case and filed a misdemeanor battery charge against Sutton. A charging document filed in that case states that Sutton “did actually and intentionally touch or strike” or “did intentionally cause bodily harm” to the victim.

“After reviewing the evidence, it was appropriate for our office to move forward on misdemeanor domestic battery charges,” Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office spokesperson Erin Maloney said in an email to the Times on Monday.

Maloney said she could not provide more detail because the case is pending and remains under investigation.

In an email to the Times on Tuesday, Sutton’s attorney, Todd Foster, said the State Attorney’s Office “did an independent, thorough investigation, and arrived at the conclusion that the misdemeanor was the appropriate charge.”

Foster declined to comment when asked if he wanted to dispute the allegations in the felony warrant affidavit. He also declined to comment on what prompted the delay in Sutton turning himself in and the characterization by Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister that Sutton had been “evading law enforcement.”

On March 20, the sheriff’s office announced that Sutton was wanted on a felony domestic battery charge. Five days later, according to the sheriff’s office, Sutton’s attorney contacted deputies and said Sutton was going to Tampa to turn himself in.

“It wasn’t until today, March 31, 2024, at 8:24 p.m. that Sutton arrived to the Orient Road Jail to turn himself in,” a sheriff’s office news release issued Sunday night said.

“After weeks of evading law enforcement, this man has finally made the right choice to turn himself in,” Chronister said in the release. “Domestic violence has no place in our community, and no one is above the law here in Hillsborough County. My thoughts are with this woman as she continues to heal from this man’s gruesome actions.”

The Associated Press reported last week that Sutton was in the Lions’ training facility when the team learned of the warrant. Lions president Rod Wood told WJBK-TV Fox 2 on March 25 that team staffers spoke to the 29-year-old Sutton at the time and advised him to turn himself in to authorities.

The Lions released Sutton on March 21 after news of the warrant surfaced. He was a seven-year pro who had just finished his first season with the Lions and helped them reach the NFC championship game for the first time in 32 years. Sutton played six seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers before joining the Lions.

Sutton is set to be arraigned on the battery charge on April 29.