ATHENS – Johnathan Taylor, the former Georgia and Alabama football player accused of assault while on both teams, could see the end of his legal troubles next week.
If not, then Taylor is likely to go to trial next month, nearly two years after being charged with domestic assault in Athens.
There is a status conference for that case scheduled for Tuesday, involving Taylor’s lawyer and the Athens-Clarke County district attorney’s office. A plea deal could arise out of it, or a trial date could be set.
“Our hope is that we can resolve it next week,” said Kim Stephens, who represents Taylor. “But we’re kind of sitting on pause, if you will, waiting to see what the DA’s office is willing to do, and to determine if it’s acceptable, and if it is we can resolve the case.”
If it’s not, Stephens said, the expectation is for a trial to take place in May.
“But hopefully that’s not necessary,” Stephens said.
The Athens assault charge is the last on a lengthy list of troubles for Taylor, a once-promising defensive lineman.
Taylor’s first arrest occurred in March 2014, when he and three teammates were charged with double-cashing scholarship checks from UGA. All four accepted pre-trial intervention, but the assault charge four months later violated that, re-instituting the original charge.
For that charge, Taylor pled guilty in December to 12 months probation in that case, according to Stephens.
Taylor was arrested on a felony charge of assault and domestic battery in July 2014, after an altercation with his girlfriend. Georgia quickly dismissed Taylor, who played at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, Miss that fall.
Alabama then accepted Taylor’s transfer, despite the Athens charges still hanging over him. In March 2015, Taylor was arrested after an incident with a different woman. Alabama dismissed Taylor.
A few days later the woman recanted her story and told police her wounds were self-inflicted, and she was arrested for filing a false police report. However, on July 7 of last year Taylor pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief, while the charges against the woman were dropped, according to ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported.
The SEC passed a rule last summer, proposed by Georgia, that its schools could not accept transfers who had been accused of serious offenses, including domestic violence.
Taylor is now at Southeastern Louisiana, where he is due to play his final year of college football this fall. He is not on the school’s online roster, but a school spokesman confirmed that Taylor is on the team after sitting out last year.
“He’ll hopefully move on with his life without this case hanging over his head,” Stephens said.