Browns' Stallworth pleads guilty and gets 30 days
By CURT ANDERSON AP Legal Affairs Writer The Associated Press
Tuesday, June 16, 2009 3:51 PM EDT
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth, left, arrives at the Miami-Dade... (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
MIAMI (AP) — Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth took full responsibility for killing a pedestrian while driving drunk in Florida and began serving a 30-day jail sentence Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter.
Stallworth also reached a confidential financial settlement to avoid a potential lawsuit from the family of 59-year-old Mario Reyes, according to Stallworth attorney Christopher Lyons. Reyes was struck and killed March 14 by Stallworth, who was driving his black 2005 Bentley after a night drinking at a swanky hotel bar.
Stallworth, 28, told Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy that he hopes to get involved in drunken driving education programs.
"I accept full responsibility for this horrible tragedy," said Stallworth, who was accompanied at the hearing by his parents, siblings and other supporters. "I will bear this burden for the rest of my life."
Stallworth faced 15 years in prison. After his release from jail, Stallworth must serve two years of house arrest and spend eight years on probation.
The NFL has said it will review the matter for possible disciplinary action. Lyons said the plea agreement will allow Stallworth to resume his football career.
Stallworth also must undergo drug and alcohol testing, will have a lifetime driver's license suspension and must perform 1,000 hours of community service. Lyons said after five years, Stallworth could win approval for limited driving such as for employment.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle cited Stallworth's lack of previous criminal record, cooperation with police and willingness to accept responsibility as factors in the plea deal. Rundle also said the Reyes family — particularly the victim's 15-year-old daughter — wanted the case resolved to avoid any more pain.