The district attorney who oversaw Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill’s plea agreement for domestic abuse by strangulation that resulted in a deferred three-year sentence said the victim was consulted about and supportive of the arrangement.
“My prosecutor met with her and her family on multiple occasions,” wrote Laura Thomas, district attorney for Payne County, Okla., in an email to The Star on Tuesday. “When we were approached for negotiations, the entire process was discussed with her. She was aware of every requirement we wanted and she wanted.”
Thomas said her office always seeks victim input on domestic violence cases. Multiple attempts to reach the victim, who was two months pregnant with Hill’s child when she was attacked, have been unsuccessful.
“The victim in this case never wavered in the prosecution of the case,” Thomas wrote. “She is a very bright individual and has very strong family support which is so important for domestic abuse victims.”
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Thomas said that Hill’s plea agreement was consistent with the sentence a first-time offender without a prior criminal record would receive in Payne County.
“This defendant did not have prior offenses,” Thomas wrote. “He was also the father of her then unborn child. The goal was not the destruction of the defendant’s life but treatment to prevent his behavior from occurring again along with a period of probation where he could be monitored and is monitored.”
Hill, who was arrested in December 2014 and dismissed from Oklahoma State the same month, said he struck and choked the victim, according to a transcript of his plea hearing obtained Tuesday by The Star.
“I — I did something that — I did something that I shouldn’t have done that night, which was I just let my feelings take — take control of me,” Hill told associate district judge Stephen Kistler in August 2015. “I wasn’t thinking. I just — I just reacted and hit her, choked her. I’m real sorry for that.”
As part of his guilty plea, Hill also signed a statement that read: “I was in a fight with my girlfriend that turned physical between us and I wrongfully put (her) in a headlock, putting external pressure on her neck that compressed her airway causing bodily injury.”
Hill faced a felony charge punishable by one to three years in prison but, as part of the plea agreement, received a deferred three-year sentence that ends Aug. 15, 2018. If he completes probation without any incidents, the guilty plea will be removed from his record. Among the requirements of his probation, Hill has had to complete a domestic-abuse evaluation, an anger-management course and a year-long batterer’s program.
Hill transferred to Division II West Alabama, where he met regularly with a counselor and with two mentors once a week. His coach there, Brett Gilliland, said Hill video-chatted with his victim because they shared a child, but other people would be present, in case “anything were to ever be said.” But Gilliland said Hill didn’t cause any problems.
After Hill was drafted by the Chiefs in the fifth round on Saturday, he expressed regret and said he was trying to move on and be a better young man.
The Chiefs’ Andy Reid and John Dorsey repeatedly said Saturday that the club has done its “due diligence” on Hill. During the year, Gilliland remembers seeing at least two Chiefs scouts visit the school, and Thomas also confirmed that the Chiefs reached out to her.
“Yes, they contacted my office,” she wrote.