Co-defendant to testify against McClain
Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain will see his co-defendant testify against him in his assault trial, which began Thursday in his hometown of Decatur, Ala.
McClain, who starred at Decatur High School and at the University of Alabama, is charged with assault, reckless endangerment, menacing and wrongful discharge of a firearm. He allegedly fired a gun just inches from a man’s ear after attacking him last year.
According to WHNT-TV, McClain, 22, was set to stand trial alongside Jerradius Willingham, but Willingham changed course and pleaded guilty Thursday morning, a day after the victim’s attorney released a cell phone video of Willingham repeatedly punching his client.
Willingham pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and was sentenced to 90 days in jail in a deal with prosecutors that will see him testify against his childhood friend.
Rishard Tapscott alleges McClain and Willingham jumped him when he arrived at a house he was invited to last Nov. 30.
Tapscott claims he refused to fight either man but was repeatedly punched and kicked, leaving him with a broken nose, mild concussion and cracked ribs.
McClain is accused of grabbing a gun, holding it to Tapscott’s head and threatening to kill him. Tapscott told police McClain then fired the gun near his ear.
McClain has denied the accusations, maintaining he never pulled out a gun.
Carl Cole, an attorney representing Tapscott in a separate civil lawsuit against McClain, said Wednesday that the cell phone video of the attack features someone yelling at another person to put away a gun. Cole said he suspected the men planned to post the video on a website that allows users to rank footage of fights.
Cole also revealed to WHNT that Tapscott had been threatened by McClain as recently as two months ago, with the NFL player allegedly telling his client, "After May 17th, I’m coming for your head."
McClain was an All-American linebacker for the Crimson Tide in 2009 and was drafted eighth overall by the Raiders in 2010. He started 14 games for the Raiders last season, recording 99 tackles and five sacks.