Stefhon Hannah pleads guilty

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 | 9:02 p.m. CDT; updated 12:15 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

CLARIFICATION: According to a probable cause statement, Stefhon Hannah hit Raouf I. Abdushaala outside the Athena Nightclub on Jan. 27. Hannah pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace. He also was ordered to have no contact with Abdushaala. Hannah did not plead guilty to assault. Some readers may have been confused regarding the specific charge for which Hannah pleaded guilty.

COLUMBIA — Stefhon Hannah, a former MU basketball guard, pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to fighting outside of the now-closed Athena Night Club.

Hannah pleaded to the reduced charge of peace disturbance by fighting, forgoing a court trail set for later in the day.

Hannah, 22. was sentenced to two years unsupervised probation, and 20 hours of community service, said Boone County Assistant Prosecuter Richard Hicks.

“(Hannah’s) on probation for two years, if he’s down at Athena, or what’s left of it ... (he’ll go) to jail for four months,” Hicks said of one of the conditions of Hannah’s probation. The conditions of Hannah’s probation include that he has to stay away from the 26-year-old kitchen worker, Raouf I. Abushaala, who he assaulted.

Hicks said that Abushaala, of Columbia, agreed with the terms of Hannah’s probation.

“He came in a couple of weeks ago,” Hicks said. “This is what (Abushaala) wanted.”

Hicks said he gave Hannah two options: either plead guilty to a Class A misdemeanor assault that could be wiped clean from his record on succesful completion of his probation, or plead guilty to a Class B misdemeanor peace disturbance.

“The difference is (Hannah) wouldn’t have a conviction on his record,” Hicks said. “So (now) he’s got a conviction for peace disturbance.”

Hicks added that he has heard Hannah already completed his 20 hours of community service. Hannah moved back to County Club Hills, Ill. after being suspended from the basketball team. He was later dismissed from the team.

Hannah and MU basketball guard Jason Horton were charged with misdemeanor third-degree assault stemming from the Jan. 27 fight outside of Athena Night Club.

The fight with two employees of Nikai Mediterranean Grill took place after an argument over food, police originally said. Nikai Mediterranean Grill is housed in the same building as Athena Night Club at 1100 Locust St.,

Abushaala was hit by Hannah, and Howard Houston, 35, punched Hannah after the player attempted to hit him, according to a probable cause statement. The fight left Hannah with a broken jaw.

Hicks said the punishment that Hannah received was typical of someone who has no prior criminal history.

“Hannah admitted guilt and said ‘Yeah I committed a crime. I was fighting,’” Hicks said. “I think it was a good disposition.”

Messages left late afternoon for Hannah’s attorney, Clayton A. Jones, were not immediately returned. Horton pleaded not guilty.

Horton’s attorney, Christopher Slusher, of Columbia, filed a motion for continuance that was approved by Boone County Circuit Court Judge Deborah Daniels. Daniels set a hearing for Horton on April 24.

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