Former Missouri RB on trial looks for fresh start

Former Missouri running back and co-captain Derrick Washington,

who was kicked off the team after being charged with sexual assault

and domestic violence, says he hopes to again play football this

fall. Whether he gets that opportunity remains uncertain.

Washington, 22, still faces two criminal trials in the coming

weeks. He is set to appear in court on May 11 on two misdemeanor

domestic violence charges and again on June 28 on a charge of

felony sex assault. He has pleaded not guilty in both cases.

Missouri’s leading rusher in 2008 and 2009 was initially

suspended by coach Gary Pinkel but dismissed from the team two days

later as the Tigers prepared for the start of the 2010 season. He’s

charged with assaulting a former Missouri tutor in her off-campus

apartment while she slept. Two weeks later, Washington was charged

with beating an ex-girlfriend who said he hit her in the face five

to 10 times and choked her during a late-night argument.

Washington was allowed to remain in school and keep his

scholarship, but he quickly dropped out. He said on Twitter last

week that “the plan right now is to get back in school.” He would

have to sit out one year if he transferred to another major-college

program but could play immediately for a Div. II school or in the

Football Championship Subdivision.

Washington also tweeted that he hopes to work out for an NFL

team as an undrafted free agent once the labor dispute is settled,

or perhaps play in Canada. He did not respond to an Associated

Press interview request, and his attorney was in court Tuesday

morning and could not immediately be reached for comment

“Hopefully this fall That’s wat I’m praying for idk where,”

Washington said in response to a Twitter follower’s question about

his expected return to football. “The plan right now is to get back

in school but if not yes I’d go that route.”

A legal resolution of his case this summer is no certainty.

Hearings and trial dates have been postponed several times while

his defense attorney and Boone County prosecutors continue to

negotiate. The lead prosecutor remains on maternity leave until

June, although the Washington cases have been assigned to another

prosecutor.

Court records reviewed by the AP show that prosecutors have

issued at least a dozen subpoenas in the felony case, though the

names of those witnesses were redacted. Nineteen potential

witnesses are listed in the court file, including current and

former Missouri students, university administrators and campus

police officers.

Washington is charged with deviate sexual assault in the felony

case, in which he’s accused of entering the victim’s bedroom

“unwilling and unprovoked” while visiting her roommate, according

to the complaint. The incident happened in June 2010, and the woman

obtained a court order of protection against Washington. The order

expired in July after neither Washington nor the victim showed up

in court

In the misdemeanor case, Washington’s ex-girlfriend said the

couple met on Sept. 11 at an area restaurant and began arguing once

they returned to her apartment ”because Washington was spitting in

(her) kitchen sink on top of her dishes.”

The argument quickly escalated, the woman said, with Washington

refusing to leave and then grabbing her by the throat while forcing

her into a bedroom. He then allegedly climbed on top of the woman,

pinned her arms behind her head and struck her in the face, causing

a bloody nose and a bruised forehead.

The woman told police that she when she bit Washington’s hand

while trying to fight back, he poked her in the eyes with two

fingers ”and tried to press her eyeballs into her skull.”

Washington also threw a drink in her face, spit on her, cut up a

poster she had made for her boyfriend of three years and cornered

her in a walk-in closet until a friend arrived at 1:20 a.m.

Washington left after the friend called police and returned to

his apartment, where he was arrested several hours later.

After his arrest, Washington told Columbia police he had argued

with the woman but characterized it as a verbal spat. He suggested

that a physical fight would have left the woman with more severe

injuries.

”I did not hit her, because if I did, she would still be

asleep,” he told police.

The woman later said that Washington had previously assaulted

her “at least seven separate times,” according to a letter to the

judge from assistant Boone County prosecutor Andrea Hayes.

Defense attorney Chris Slusher has previously said that

Washington has sought counseling, moved back to the Kansas City

area with his parents and enrolled in another school, which he did

not identify.