HARTFORD — A former NFL player and ESPN analyst has been convicted of a reduced charge stemming from a September domestic clash in a city hotel.
Hugh Lamont Douglas, 42, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., pleaded no contest in Superior Court Monday to breach of peace. He was given a suspended, six-month sentence and a conditional discharge, which is similar to probation, only unsupervised.
When someone pleads no contest, or nolo contendere, he neither admits nor denies the crime. Once the judge accepts the plea, as Judge Laura Baldini did, the person is found guilty.
Baldini ordered Douglas to attend domestic violence counseling, said his lawyer, Corey J. Brinson, who called the resolution of the case “a great outcome.”
The woman did not agree. She was disappointed, Brinson said Wednesday; she said in court she wanted Douglas to be convicted of assault. His original charges were third-degree assault and second-degree strangulation.
The state “didn’t think it was a good case to take to trial,” Brinson said, in part because the woman was drinking the night of the incident.
The two, who had been seeing each other eight months, had fought before, the woman told police at the time.
According to a police report, a clerk at the Hartford Marriott Downtown called police about 2:50 a.m. Sept. 22 after Douglas’ girlfriend asked if there were cameras in the hotel, saying she had been assaulted. When the clerk said no, the woman became a little upset and started walking away.
As she was leaving, the clerk noticed bruises on the woman’s neck, and he asked security to stop her and called the police, according to the report.
When an officer arrived, he noticed red marks on both sides of her neck and what appeared to be a bump on the back of her head, the report states. The woman told the officer that she hadn’t wanted police to be called and that she and her boyfriend had “a little fight but nothing serious.”
Later, at Hartford Hospital, the woman offered more details.
She told the officer that she and Douglas had gone out for some drinks, and that when they returned to the hotel, they had an argument and she left the hotel room, the report states. As she reached the elevator, Douglas caught up to her and stopped her from getting in, she told the officer. He grabbed her by the neck, picked her up and carried her down the hallway toward the room, slamming her into the walls along the way, the report says.
She blacked out because she couldn’t breathe, the woman told police. When she woke up, she was lying on the bed — fully clothed — with a headache, then climbed out of bed, left the room and ran to the elevator, the report states.
Douglas told an officer that the two had a “minor argument” earlier, but that he had not seen her in a while, it says.
Asked if he heard anything in the hallway after his girlfriend left, he said he heard a thump, opened the door and saw her on the floor, the report says. He said he ran out of the room, picked her up, brought her inside and put her on the bed, the report states.
Asked about her injuries, he told an officer that rough sex led to the neck injury, but that he “could not explain how she got the bump on her head,” the report says.
Douglas played in the NFL from 1995 to 2004 for the New York Jets, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In August, he was fired from ESPN, where he worked as an analyst on the show “Numbers Never Lie,” after a confrontation with his co-host at the National Association of Black Journalists Convention, according to a Reuters report.
By Christine Dempsey, Hartford Courant