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Wednesday, February 13,2013

OU footballer pleads to assault

By Jim Phillips
Photo Credits: Jim Phillips/ Athens NEWS
Photo Caption: Keith Lucas listens in court Monday.

An Ohio University football player who was charged with attacking and seriously injuring a fellow student on campus last October pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault Monday in Athens County Municipal Court.

Keith M. "Mike" Lucas, 19, will pay a $100 fine and serve no jail time, as long as he doesn't violate terms of his community-control probation, which basically consist of being a law-abiding citizen for the next two years.

Judge William A. Grim had sentenced Lucas to 90 days in jail and fined him $500, but then suspended the jail and $400 of the fine. He ordered Lucas to have no contact with his victim.

Lucas must also pay restitution to cover his victim's medical expenses, in an amount not to exceed $1,000. Athens City Prosecutor Tracy Meek told Grim that she has spoken to the victim's father, who she said has estimated that his emergency-room bills won't top around $600.

Lucas, a red-shirted freshman offensive lineman from Chicago, was originally charged with felonious assault, based on an incident in the early morning hours of Oct. 14.

Authorities alleged that Lucas had been one of a group of five men who attacked a male student as the man sat on a bench outside Sargent Hall on OU's West Green. Lucas allegedly hit the man in the face, a criminal complaint said, "causing several facial bone fractures." The man was taken to O'Bleness Memorial Hospital for treatment after the assault.

The second-degree felony charge against Lucas was dismissed out of Municipal Court two days after the alleged assault. On Nov. 19, a new charge of simple assault, a first-degree misdemeanor, was filed against Lucas.

Lucas's defense attorney, K. Robert Toy, told the judge Monday that the altercation that led to the charge may have been prompted by a verbal confrontation. "Apparently some words were exchanged," he said, adding that had the case gone to trial, "there were some indications of a self-defense claim here."

In response, Meek cited Lucas's significant size and weight advantage over his victim – he was listed on the OU roster at the time of the assault as standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 340 pounds.

"This is a large man," the prosecutor observed.

Lucas appeared in 16 plays for the Bobcats in 2012, and did not play in 2011.

The Ohio University Athletics Department was contacted for information on any disciplinary actions that may have been taken against Lucas in connection with his football activities, but had not provided the information to The Athens NEWS as of press time Wednesday.


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Is there anything we can do to repeal the verdict and give him jail time and more of a fine? A football player shouldn't be allowed to nearly kill a guy and get off with such a light sentence! This is a 6'4, 340 lb. offensive lineman! My brother's a crippled airforce vet and his body is considered to be a deadly weapon. If he sneezed on a guy accidentally it'd be considered assault with a deadly weapon. But this judge decides it's okay to let him off with such a light sentence?