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Jermain Taylor Shoots Cousin Days After Fight Confirmation

by Bryanna Fissori
Legal Analyst

Former Middleweight Champion Boxer Jermain Taylor (32-4-1) was arrested Tuesday night for shooting his cousin, Tyrone Hinton, multiple times at Taylor’s suburban home in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Taylor’s wife called 911 and the boxer was taken into custody on charges of 1st degree battery and aggravated assault, and spent the night in the Pulaski County Detention Center. Hinton and another man left the scene before the cops arrived and were found by medical crews and law enforcement at a nearby Dollar General Store. Hinton was admitted to the hospital in serious condition.

Reports state that Hinton and another man arrived at Taylor’s home and there was an altercation, at which time Taylor obtained a firearm. The shooting took place before 6pm and Taylor fired multiple shots at both men.

Taylor was released on $25,000 bond Wednesday. A not-guilty plea was entered, and the boxer was reportedly cooperative with investigators.

Coming off of a four-fight winning streak, Taylor is scheduled to face off against Sam Soliman (44-11-0) live on ESPN on October 8. District Judge Wayne Gruber granted the request from the boxer’s attorney to allow him to travel out of state to compete in the bout taking place at the Beau Rivage Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi.

The network statement about the fighter was issued Wednesday stating, “ESPN had committed to carry the fight and was working towards a contractual agreement. We are now reviewing the situation and will make a decision once more details emerge.”

Early reports stated that the continuance of the fight would be contingent on the severity of legal implications. Another concern may be moral implications. To this point, details have not been released on the nature of the argument that prompted Taylor to shoot Hinton, but it is reasonable that a promotion or network may not find it fitting to promote a athlete who has committed a felony. Taylor’s promoter is Lou DiBella.

There are no specific moral standards outlined for athletes and celebrities. Beyond the rules of the sport, censorship is the closest that the legal system comes to controlling behavior. ESPN2 will have to base their decision to show the fight on the company’s moral standards and concern for public appearance in what and who they broadcast. Again, there are no details on why exactly Jermain Taylor grabbed a gun and shot his cousin. Maybe, he had an excellent reason . . .

Taylor won a bronze medal in boxing at the 2000 Olympics and was the professional middleweight boxing champion from 2005 until 2007 when he lost the title to Kelly Pavlik, who he had previously beaten at the Olympic trials. Taylor also lost his professional rematch with Pavlik, before moving to the super-middleweight division.

Another notable event was in 2009, when Taylor was hospitalized in Germany after being knocked out by Arthur Abraham. After the incident Taylor complained of short-term memory loss and took a 26-month break before he was adequately cleared by doctors to fight again.

Penalties for Aggravated Assault in Arkansas can include imprisonment for not more than six years, though a judge has the discretion to add on fifteen years if a firearm is involved. Fines of up to $10,000 may be instated as well as restitution for the victim. Battery in the first degree is a 10-year imprisonment charge.

The difference between assault and battery is generally that assault is the attempt at bodily harm, while battery is the actual harm. This means a battery claim could also be extended to the man who Taylor shot at, but was not hit.

The legal system generally moves at a snails pace and if the charges brought against Taylor end up spurring litigation and a trial, he will likely have plenty of time to fight on October 8, before he has to worry about seeing a jury.

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