LSU senior defensive back Jalen Mills, who was scheduled to stand trial Wednesday on a misdemeanor charge that accused him of punching a woman outside his apartment last May, will instead enroll in a one-year pretrial intervention program to resolve a simple battery charge, a prosecutor told a state judge.
Mills’ attorney, former prosecutor Brent Stockstill, told reporters that Mills’ decision to enroll in the diversion program is “absolutely not” an admission of guilt. Stockstill entered a not guilty plea on Mills’ behalf in October.
Stockstill said Mills wants to put the matter behind him and move on with his life and football career. LSU’s spring game is set for April 18.
“This is what the alleged victim asked to happen,” Stockstill said of what transpired in court Wednesday morning.
If Mills successfully completes the program, he can request that the charge be removed from his record, Stockstill added. Simple battery is punishable by up to six months in prison or a $1,000 fine.
East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Steve Danielson told District Judge Chip Moore that Mills must remain arrest- and drug-free, submit to random drug testing, perform 30 hours of community service, undergo a psychological evaluation, attend a decision-making class, and pay the victim’s out-of-pocket medical expenses as part of the program.
District Attorney Hillar Moore III, who was not in Chip Moore’s courtroom Wednesday for Mills’ court appearance, said those medical expenses are greater than $500 but less than $1,000.
The woman needed four stitches to close a gash on her lip following an alleged altercation with Mills after she knocked on Mills’ door looking for a friend about 1 a.m. on May 4, according to an arrest warrant. A witness corroborated the victim’s story and both picked Mills out of a photo lineup.
Hillar Moore said Mills, who turned 21 on Monday, did not receive special treatment because of his status as an LSU football player.
“We divert so many people in simple battery cases on first offenses,” he noted. “I have to treat him like everybody else.”
The victim met with prosecutors Tuesday at the District Attorney’s Office and, after consulting with her mother, agreed to accept Mills’ offer to enroll in a pretrial intervention program, Hillar Moore said.
The victim wanted Mills held responsible for his alleged behavior, he said.
“The victim was my number one priority and concern,” he said. “We believed the victim was struck by Mr. Mills.”
Stockstill has said Mills “hit nobody” and that Mills’ girlfriend struck the woman.
“We do not believe his girlfriend punched this particular victim,” Hillar Moore reiterated Wednesday. The district attorney has said previously that a friend of the victim also was struck, not by Mills but by a female who accompanied Mills.
Mills was arrested in June on a felony count of second-degree battery but charged by prosecutors in August with the misdemeanor charge. Mills’ summerlong suspension was lifted Aug. 4, the first day of fall camp and the same day the misdemeanor charge was filed.
Mills, who is from Texas, must return to Chip Moore’s courtroom on April 16, 2016.
He has started all 39 games in his LSU career and ranked seventh in tackles in 2014 with 62. He is the secondary’s most experienced player.