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Published: Friday, 7/7/2006

Steelers' Holmes to face trial despite alleged victim refusing to cooperate with prosecutors

BY JIM PROVANCE
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU

COLUMBUS -Top Pittsburgh Steelers draft pick Santonio Holmes faces trial next month for domestic violence despite the refusal of the alleged victim, the mother of his child, to cooperate with prosecutors.

While his attorney was convincing a Franklin County Municipal Court judge today to dismiss an unrelated year-old traffic citation, Mr. Holmes, 22, sat in the hallway outside the courtroom next to the alleged victim with their 5-month-old daughter, Shaniya, asleep on a blanket draped across his lap.

He declined to talk to reporters.

For over an hour, an assistant Columbus attorney talked separately with Lashae Boone in a backroom, but Mr. Holmes' attorney, Sam Shemansky, said she steadfastly refuses to testify and wants the charge dismissed. Although Miss Boone lives in Columbus and Mr. Holmes in Pittsburgh, he said the two remain together.

They are not married.

"As DV cases go, this is not World War III," he said. "This is not a woman with her eye blackened shut. It's nothing like that. It's polar opposite from that. My hope is that after we've fulfilled obligations on our part, that the government will be willing to

follow the wishes of the alleged victim and dismiss the matter in its entirety."

Assistant City Attorney Anna Firestone could not be immediately reached for comment.

If the assault and domestic violence charges, both first-degree misdemeanors, should go before a jury as scheduled, the prosecution could still try to force Miss Boone to testify as well as present her 911 call and the affidavit she gave police on June 19. In that affidavit, Miss Boone accused Mr. Holmes of "choking (her), throwing her to the ground, grabbing her arms, and slamming her into a door,

leaving her with bruises, pain, and a torn shirt."

The Steelers traded up seven spots in the April draft to get the Ohio State University to replace wide receiver Antwaan Randle El.

Since then, Mr. Holmes has been arrested twice. He faces a July 12 hearing in the Miami Beach Courthouse following his Memorial Day weekend arrest for disorderly conduct in South Beach, Fla.

Mr. Holmes has two young sons with another woman in Florida, where he grew up.

He's never been married.

One Ohio criminal charge, an outstanding warrant for a 2005 traffic violation, went away yesterday after the victim agreed to drop the charge in exchange for $700 in immediate restitution for the costs of repairing her vehicle. Mr. Holmes had been cited for failing to keep a clear distance after he rear-ended the woman's vehicle on I-70 near Columbus on Oct. 19.

Municipal Court Judge Michael T. Brandt dismissed the charge with Mr. Holmes. He will pay only court costs.

Mr. Holmes made a brief appearance inside the courtroom. Wearing a navy blue suit, blue shirt, and tie, he looked out of place among the largely jeans, T-shirts, and in some cases, prison uniforms, of other defendants answering to such charges as drunken driving and traffic violations.

He remains free on $3,500 recognizance bond.

Contact Jim Provance at: jprovance@theblade.com, or 614-221-0496.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.



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