University of Montana football player Jimmy Wilson, accused in August of biting a woman's leg, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Missoula Municipal Court to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct.
"Considering I put myself in a bad position, I'm glad it's all behind me now," Wilson said after his brief appearance before Municipal Judge Marie Anderson.
Wilson, a cornerback, was suspended from practice for a time after being charged with misdemeanor assault in connection with the Aug. 8 incident, which occurred just a month after he was cleared by the NCAA to play in the fall for the Griz.
Wilson, a standout player from 2004 through 2006, was arrested in 2007 for the California murder of Kevin Smoot, and spent the next two years in prison before eventually being acquitted in a second jury trial. The first trial ended in a hung jury.
"He's been through the legal system the last 2 1/2 years," his attorney, Paul Ryan, said Wednesday. "He's been humbled by this process, not only here but in California. He just wants it over."
Court records show the alleged offense occurred at 2:15 a.m. near the intersection of Park Street and Southwest Higgins Avenue. The ticket alleges Wilson committed "assault by biting (name redacted) on the right leg, causing pain and visible injury."
Ryan said at the time that Wilson and the victim were among six people in a car, and that the woman was sitting in the front seat between the driver and Wilson.
"There's no question that he did bite her," Ryan said Wednesday. "It was done in a playful matter, but it was not appropriate and she did not consent."
The original assault charge against Wilson carried a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $500 fine. On Wednesday, Anderson handed him a six-month deferred sentence, meaning his record will be cleared if he stays out of trouble. She also imposed a $50 fine and $101 surcharge, and required him to write a letter apologizing to the victim.
He has until Jan. 14 to pay the fines and write the letter, although Ryan said he expected that would be done sooner.
Missoulian reporter Gwen Florio can be reached at 523-5268 or firstname.lastname@example.org.