ADA: Jail time 'appropriate' for LSU RB Hill

by Jim Mustian and Matthew Harris

Advocate staff writers

In this Nov. 17, 2012, file photo, LSU running back Jeremy Hill (33) rushes past Mississippi defensive back Trae Elston (7) on a 27-yard touchdown carry during the first half of their NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge. Hill was formally charged Monday with simple battery stemming from a bar fight in which he was involved in April. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
In this Nov. 17, 2012, file photo, LSU running back Jeremy Hill (33) rushes past Mississippi defensive back Trae Elston (7) on a 27-yard touchdown carry during the first half of their NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge. Hill was formally charged Monday with simple battery stemming from a bar fight in which he was involved in April. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Prosecutors said Monday they plan to seek jail time in the case of Jeremy Hill, the suspended LSU running back accused of violating his probation this spring when he was arrested after a bar fight.

In his first bout with the criminal justice system, Hill, 20, avoided prison last year when he pleaded guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge and admitted engaging in a sexual act with a 14-year-old girl.

A condition of Hill’s probation had been that he refrain from any criminal activity.

East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Sue Bernie said she will file a motion seeking to revoke Hill’s misdemeanor probation based on the allegations he faces in the April bar fight.

If state District Court Judge Bonnie Jackson revokes the probation, Hill could face up to six months in jail, Bernie said.

Prosecutors filed a misdemeanor simple battery charge Monday against Hill, who is expected to appear in court Friday morning for arraignment.

“We’re going to certainly push for revocation,” Bernie said. “I think that jail time is appropriate, but it’s ultimately up to the judge.”

Hill’s defense attorney, Marci Blaize, declined to comment Monday.

Brent M. Stockstill, a local defense attorney and former prosecutor, said most people on misdemeanor probation who commit a second misdemeanor do not have their probation revoked.

“The volume of people placed on probation (who) don’t complete all of their conditions would fill up every known prison in the world,” Stockstill said. “But for this being a high-profile case, I don’t think there would be any chance of his probation being revoked.”

Hill’s latest legal troubles stemmed from an April 27 fight in the parking lot of Reggie’s Bar on Bob Pettit Drive.

Police have said Hill punched a 20-year-old man and left before officers arrived.

A cellphone video showed a second man, Robert G. Bayardo, 21, knocking the victim unconscious after Hill punched him. Bayardo also was formally charged with simple battery Monday, though he had initially been booked with second-degree battery.

The video showed Hill and Bayardo giving each other high-fives in front of the victim after he fell to the ground, police said.

Blaize has said “numerous individuals” made derogatory comments to Hill the night of the fight.

She also has said there is likely “more to the story” than what is contained on the video.

Hill and another former Redemptorist High student, Avery Tate, pleaded guilty Jan. 6, 2012, to engaging in a sexual act with a 14-year-old girl in the school’s locker room in December 2010.

Hill and Tate, 19 and 18 at the time of their guilty pleas, were given suspended six-month prison terms and put on active supervised probation for two years with the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s Office.

Hill and Tate each pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of carnal knowledge of a juvenile. Court records show Hill and Tate’s probation conditions provide that they “refrain from all criminal conduct.”

Hill’s status with LSU remains in limbo after Monday’s developments, with the program and football coach Les Miles taking the same tack since the running back’s arrest in late April. Miles suspended Hill indefinitely from all team activities, and has said from the outset he wants the legal process to run its course before making any determination on whether Hill will remain on the roster.

“Nothing has changed as far as the way he is viewing this,” LSU athletic department spokesman Michael Bonnette said, referring to Miles.

“He’s aware and keeping tabs on what happened today. He’s just going to let it run through the system.”

The Tigers report for fall camp Aug. 4, and open practice a day later.

Judge Jackson has added new conditions to Hill’s probation, including a curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. and a requirement that he avoid bars.

Hill faces an Aug. 16 hearing to review the status of his probation. Meanwhile, Hill remains in contact periodically with Miles, but Bonnette did not have details about how often the pair talk or to what degree they discuss Hill’s current legal problems.

“I don’t know how long they talk or how often they speak,” Bonnette said. “Jeremy is working out on his own and doing well in school and doing all the things he’s been asked to do.”