2 football players to face trial

After aggravated assault charges were initially dropped against Dion Dawkins and Haason Reddick, both are now headed to a trial.

Temple football players Dion Dawkins and Haason Reddick will receive a court date later this month. Both players have been charged with first-degree felony aggravated assault after they injured former Temple students Benjamin Wood and Delonte Stancil January 2015.

According to Wood’s testimony at a preliminary hearing in April, he saw Reddick stomping on Stancil at Club 1800 in Northern Liberties Jan. 18. When Wood tried to intervene, he was also kicked and stomped on, and then charged and punched by Dawkins, he testified.

Last Wednesday, Reddick and Dawkins attended a pre-trial conference, where they received no offer from the District Attorney, said Glenn Gilman, the new defense attorney for Reddick as of last week. Dawkins and Reddick had requested to be entered into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, aimed at putting offenders in rehabilitative programs and paying fees instead of clogging up the court system.

“The ARD program wasn’t really appropriate for this case,” Gilman said.

During April’s preliminary hearing, the aggravated assault charges against both players were dropped.

“A preliminary hearing is where they decide if it is more likely or not the crime was committed,” said Jason Grenell, an assistant district attorney for Philadelphia. “In this case, they decided it was not a felony.”

At the time, Dawkins still faced  a simple assault charge, a third-degree misdemeanor. In June, Grenell took the case to the Court of Common Pleas, where aggravated assault charges were reimposed.

Grenell explained aggravated assault as causing or attempting to cause serious bodily harm, not just injuries like scratches or bruises. He added the victim, former Temple student Benjamin Wood, needed to stay overnight in the hospital.

“They had to insert a metal plate to keep the skin and muscle around his eye from sagging and disfiguring his face,” Grenell said.

Grenell said a variety of factors went into the decision to refile for aggravated assault, but would not go into further detail.

“We take into consideration previous record, injuries to the victim and the effect on the community and the witnesses,” said Cameron Kline, the communications director and spokesperson for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. “We want to make sure justice is served.”

Both Grenell and Gilman said they could not predict what decision the court would make in this case.

“No aggravated assault is like the other, just like no robbery is like the other,” Grenell said. “We’re all human, and what happens and how it happens doesn’t have a formula.”

“The preliminary hearing is like the players getting on the board,” Gilman added.

Dawkins and Reddick will receive their trial date at a scheduling conference Oct. 20. The players will make a plea at the trial, with the assumption of pleading not guilty, Gilman said.

If Dawkins and Reddick are found guilty of aggravated assault, they could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. Both played in Friday’s win against the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a spokesman from the university’s athletic department said the players’ status on the team “remains unchanged.”

“Every case has its own personality,” Kline said. “The decision is left to the judge and jury, and we have to see what decision the jury makes.”

Julie Christie can be reached at julie.christie@temple.edu or on Twitter @ChristieJules.

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