Horton, Hannah charged

Third-degree assault charges stem from Jan. 27 altercation outside Nikai restaurant
Friday, February 15, 2008 | 8:13 p.m. CST; updated 3:16 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Stefhon Hannah

Editor's note: This story was updated at 10:05 p.m. with new information.

COLUMBIA — Missouri guard Jason Horton is still with the basketball team and is expected to play against Kansas State on Saturday after being charged with third-degree assault Friday in connection with a January fight at a late-night restaurant, team spokesman Dave Reiter said.

His former teammate Stefhon Hannah, who was dismissed from the team on Tuesday, was also charged.

Both men will be arraigned at a hearing scheduled for March 3, according to Assistant Prosecuter Richard Hicks.

When reached on Friday night, Reiter said Horton is with the team in Manhattan, Kan., adding: “The situation has been dealt with and we have moved on."

When asked on Monday what would happen if the players were charged, Missouri Coach Mike Anderson said: “They have not been. Right now, what is it, misdemeanor right now? I can’t say. We’ll deal with that in the future."

Boone County prosecutors charged each with third-degree misdemeanor assault for allegedly scuffling with two employees of the Nikai Mediterranean Grill, which is housed in the same building as Athena Night Club. The fight left Hannah — who was kicked off the team Tuesday for missing two weeks of classes following the incident — with a broken jaw.

A probable cause statement sheds additional light on the Jan. 27 incident, which led to a two-game suspension for Horton and forward Darryl Butterfield and one-game suspensions for forwards Leo Lyons and Marshall Brown. The three forwards were suspended for violating curfew.

According to the statement, Hannah confronted an unnamed restaurant employee over what he considered poor service around 1 a.m., hours after the team returned from its first road victory of the season at Colorado.

The employee told police and prosecutors that Hannah then pushed him from behind while the worker was locking the door at closing time. Horton then approached the pair as if to break up the disagreement, but before he could intervene Hannah punched the employee in the face.

The employee then grabbed Hannah by the shirt collar “and pulled himself into Hannah so as not to be struck again,” the statement reads. At that point, Horton hit the employee on the right side of his neck, above the shoulder.

The employee said he held on to Hannah while avoiding additional punches thrown by Horton. The two fell to the floor.

An unnamed co-worker then came to the employee’s assistance. The co-worker said that he punched Hannah only after the player attempted to hit him.

Hicks said he didn’t file criminal charges against the employee who broke Hannah’s jaw because the man was defending his co-worker, who suffered a cut near his eye and scrapes on his elbow from the fall.

“This individual was acting in lawful defense of another,” Hicks said.

By 9:30 p.m., Friday, Hannah's charges had yet to be filled on Missouri, the state's electronic court filling system. Hicks confirmed that Hannah had been charged.

"I can't comment at this point," Hicks said when reached by the Columbia Missourian. "Both these guys, young men, are presumed innocent. There is nothing I can say about the facts of this case."

Neither Horton nor Hannah could be reached for comment late Friday.

The restaurant altercation is the latest in a series of off-court incidents involving Missouri players since coach Mike Anderson was hired less than two years ago.

Butterfield was suspended at the start of the season for one exhibition game following an arrest for punching a former girlfriend. He pleaded guilty and received a suspended sentence and six months probation when the charge was downgraded to peace disturbance.

DeMarre Carroll, Anderson’s nephew, was shot in the ankle outside a downtown club while trying to break up a fight. Mike Anderson Jr., the coach’s son and a backup guard, was arrested for DUI last year and suspended for a game.

And Kalen Grimes, the school’s leading rebounder and starting center last season, was dismissed from the team after being arrested for hitting a man in the face with the butt of a shotgun in St. Louis in July.

Missouri (14-11, 4-6 Big 12) visits No. 18 Kansas State (17-6,7-2) Saturday. In their first contest this season, a short-handed Tigers team stunned the Wildcats in a 77-74 home win one week after the fight.

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