Junior defensive tackle Kamal Johnson’s preliminary hearing took place Tuesday morning in front of Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni. Johnson, who turned himself in to the Philadelphia Police Department on Oct. 5, faced charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment of another person, unlawful restraint and false imprisonment.
Johnson’s accuser and ex-girlfriend Samantha Jones took the stand and recounted the night of Sept. 27. Jones, a 21-year-old student resident of the Edge, testified that, on the night in question, Johnson forced himself in to her eighth floor apartment and dragged her to his own suite, located on the sixth floor of the Edge.
Jones said Johnson came to her apartment door after she returned home from work just before midnight after a phone argument. Johnson allegedly forced entry by slamming her head into the concrete wall, and then began an avid search for Jones’ cell phone. After Johnson failed to locate the phone, he allegedly grabbed Jones’ left arm, leaving three scars which she showed the court, and dragged her down the hallway towards the stairs.
Johnson then allegedly forced Jones to his own suite, where Jones testified the defendant threw her on a chair, punched her in the thigh, and began to choke her. After keeping her in his own bedroom, Johnson allegedly allowed Jones to leave his apartment at approximately 4 a.m.
Jones reported the incident to police and sought medical treatment on Oct. 6.
Despite Jones’ testimony, Judge Carr Deni dropped the kidnapping charge, saying that the definition of it did not fit the series of events. Johnson still faces the remainder of the previously stated charges.
“[Jones] experienced something that night that was very difficult for her and a violent experience, and the judge felt it wasn’t enough for the kidnapping charge, but held aggravated assault, a felony in the first degree, to go to a felony-level trial,” prosecutor Senta Rhodes said after the hearing.
Johnson, who has not practiced or played for the team since his arrest, still remains a university student. Defense declined speculation on pending university code of conduct procedures.
Johnson’s defense counsel, Mariana Rossman, remained confident that he would be acquitted of all charges.
“If credibility is to be an issue, I’d have much more to argue in this case,” Rossman said. “This woman has made various statements to various peoples since this alleged incident occurred, they have not been consistent with one another and indeed the actions taken by this young lady after the allegations that she’s making against my client are wholly inconsistent with what she’s claiming the he did…I have no doubt that this young man is going to be absolutely vindicated of any wrong doing.”
Johnson’s trial has been set for Nov. 13.
Ali Watkins and Cindy Stansbury can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.