Former middleweight champ Taylor changes plea to guilty in 3 incidents

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor struck a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty Tuesday to more than a half-dozen charges stemming from three separate incidents over the past year, including him shooting and wounding his cousin and firing a gun at a Martin Luther King Jr. parade.

Taylor appeared in Pulaski County Circuit Court with his attorney two days before he faced trial. Sentencing is set for April 19 and it wasn’t clear how much time Taylor might face.

"There was a change of plea. We were able to plea it to the court, which means the judge accepts the guilty plea and sets it off for sentencing," said Jimmy Morris, Jr. an attorney representing Taylor. He would not comment on the reason for the change of plea.

Prosecutors confirmed they had reduced charges to second degree battery in an incident where Taylor was accused of wounding his cousin last year.

Prosecutors also removed an enhancement for charges stemming from an incident in which Taylor was accused of firing a gun during the MLK parade while he was released on bond from the first incident. The enhancement was because children were present during the incident. Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Johnson said the office agreed to dismiss the enhancement, but Taylor still pleaded guilty to five counts of aggravated assault, one count of terroristic threatening and misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.

Charges were not reduced in a third incident from May of last year. Taylor pleaded guilty to second degree battery related to an alleged assault at a treatment center in Little Rock. He had entered the center in March after his bond was revoked for the parade incident. While there, authorities allege he was in a physical altercation with another resident.


Johnson said his office had not made a sentencing recommendation as of Tuesday. He said that will likely happen during the April hearing.

"What will happen is that hearing will give everybody a chance to put on witnesses to tell the judge what they want to about the defendant. We could bring in victims to testify during that hearing as well," he said.

Judge Leon Johnson agreed to let Taylor continue training in Florida under supervision as a condition of his release.

"He’s under the same restrictions with some leeway to possibly leave for fights and leeway to come home for Christmas," Morris said.

He did not know if Taylor had any fights scheduled as of Tuesday.