Stallworth formally charged with DUI manslaughter

Browns receiver Donte Stallworth was charged with DUI manslaughter in a Florida courtroom on Thursday morning stemming from an incident a few months ago in which he struck and killed a pedestrian with his car. If he’s found guilty, he would face a mandatory four-year prison sentence.

The plea was entered at a brief court hearing Thursday by defense attorney Christopher Lyons. The 28-year-old Stallworth did not appear in court. A trial date has not been set.

Stallworth faces up to 15 years if convicted. Police say Stallworth was driving drunk after a night on the town when he struck and killed 59-year-old Mario Reyes on a Miami Beach causeway.
Stallworth is free on $200,000 bail and is required to abstain from alcohol, not drive and observe a curfew.

It’s reported that Stallworth’s defense team will try and argue that the victim was just as much at fault for the accident because he was jaywalking across a busy street. Stallworth has already claimed that tried to flash his lights to warn the pedestrian, but the fact that he was driving while impaired will work against him.

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Stallworth to avoid manslaughter charges?

In a stunning development, Yahoo! Sports writes that Browns’ receiver Donte Stallworth could avoid a DUI manslaughter conviction stemming from the accident he had in mid-March in which he killed a pedestrian.

According to Florida’s DUI manslaughter law, there are exceptions under what is called “causation” of an accident. In short, someone who is driving drunk and causes an accident is not necessarily responsible if the other party did something to contribute to the accident. Florida statute 316.119 was changed in the 1980s to reflect that after a state Supreme Court judge ruled that the state’s previous strict liability standard on drunken drivers was essentially unfair.

The exception is based on the idea that if a drunken driver stopped at an intersection was hit by another car and the driver of the other car died, the drunken driver should not be held responsible.

In this case, Reyes allegedly was jaywalking at the time he was hit and killed by Stallworth. If Reyes was jaywalking, it could be argued he contributed to the accident. In addition, Stallworth claimed to have flashed his lights and honked his horn at Reyes, which is being interpreted by Stallworth’s side as a way of warning Reyes to get out of the way.

The article also states that Stallworth’s jail time could be reduced to as little as two or three months, which is just flabbergasting considering that he killed a man while driving drunk. This reeks of Leonard Little’s 1998 manslaughter case, in which he only received 90 days in jail, four years probation and 1,000 hours of community service after driving under the influence of alcohol and killing a woman driver.

I feel horrible for the family of the man Stallworth hit. Not only did they lose a member of their family, but now they also have to endure the pain of having Stallworth and his defense team try and prove that he was partly at fault because he jaywalked. Hey, if Stallworth wasn’t being an idiot and driving drunk, maybe this entire situation could have been avoided in the first place. What a tragedy.

Stallworth facing manslaughter charge

According to the Miami Herald, Browns’ receiver Donte’ Stallworth is facing DUI manslaughter charges and could face up to 15-years in jail.

Donte StallworthDUI manslaughter charges are expected to be filed Wednesday afternoon against Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth, alleging the football player was driving drunk last month when he struck and killed a pedestrian on Miami Beach, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.

Blood tests revealed Stallworth had a blood alcohol level of .12 after the 7 a.m. crash, a second source with knowledge of the investigation told The Miami Herald.

Arrangements have been made for Stallworth to surrender to authorities, the source said.

Police have been investigating Stallworth since March 14, when police responded to the scene of a fatal car crash at the southeast end of the MacArthur Causeway in Miami Beach.

Police said Stallworth was driving a Bentley east on the MacArthur Causeway about 7 a.m. and struck Mario Reyes, 59, who was getting off work and crossing the street to get to a bus stop.

This entire situation is sad. It’s sad that Stallworth made an incredibly poor decision to drive while under the influence and it’s obviously even sadder that a man lost his life because of it. We’re all human and we all make mistakes. Stallworth made a huge mistake and it looks like he’ll pay for it. (Then again, Leonard Little was charged with DUI manslaughter and all he served was 90 days in jail, so who knows how long Stallworth will get.)

I just pray for everyone in involved and I feel for the victim’s family

Michael Crabtree an option for Browns?

The Cleveland Plain Dealer notes that Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree is a viable option for the Browns at No. 5 in next month’s NFL draft.

Hey, Tony: What are the Browns going to do about the WR position now? Do you see us taking Michael Crabtree in the first and then using our multiple second-round picks on LBs? — Jeff Smith, Naples, Fla.

Hey, Jeff: Crabtree is a viable option now at No. 5 for the Browns. I’m usually not an advocate of taking a receiver so high, however.

Hey, Tony: Well, we have to ask the question, what do we do in Stallworth’s absence? Free agency? Draft? — Todd Hollis, Massillon

Hey, Todd: The Browns signed David Patten, who will be 35 by the season opener. I’m sure they’ll add more receivers, pending Stallworth’s legal process.

Before he had foot surgery to repair a small stress fracture, some felt as though Crabtree was the best prospect in the draft. With all due respect to Aaron Curry, Matthew Stafford and Jason Smith, Crabtree might still be the best prospect, especially considering his foot injury isn’t expected to be a reoccurring problem.

Speculation has it that the Browns have been or are willing to trade Braylon Edwards, whose contract expires at the end of the season. If Cleveland could swing a deal with a team like the Giants and wind up trading Edwards, then there will be an obvious need for a receiver, especially considering Donte Stallworth’s pending situation. The Browns would love to add an outside linebacker (they seemingly solved their inside linebacker quandary with free agent Eric Barton) and they have needs at safety as well. At No. 5, there isn’t an outside 3-4 linebacker worthy of taking that high. So unless they can trade down, Crabtree makes sense and is definitely top 5 material. He would also allow the Browns some flexibility with Edwards, who Cleveland wouldn’t necessarily have to trade right away or worry about doling out a new contract to a player that quite frankly hasn’t been worth it.

Report: Stallworth was over the legal limit when he hit pedestrian

Based on a report by WSTN in Miami, Browns’ wideout Donte Stallworth had a blood-alcohol level of 0.12 when his vehicle hit and killed a pedestrian named Mario Reyes last weekend.

Donte StallworthThe source said Stallworth’s blood alcohol was above the legal limit when he hit Mario Reyes, 59, with his Bentley. A Miami television station, WSVN, reported that Stallworth’s blood alcohol level was 0.12 percent, which is over the legal limit of .08 percent.

Miami Beach Detective Juan Sanchez, the department’s spokesman said, “That has not been released or confirmed by us. They went with that story without confirming it with us.”

Sanchez added that although results of the toxicology report are due Friday, “we will not be releasing those results until we make an arrest.”

According to WSVN’s report, authorities said they are waiting to see when and where Stallworth will turn himself in. The station said Stallworth faces a DUI manslaughter charge which carries a 15-year sentence in jail if convicted.

This is only a report, so we’ll have to see what the official statement is by investigators but either way, this obviously isn’t good for Stallworth.

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