VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) The felony charge against Tennessee Titans wide receiver Justin Hunter has been reduced to a misdemeanor count of assault and battery.
Hunter had been facing a felony charge of malicious wounding that stemmed from a late-night flight at the Sandbar Raw Bar in Virginia Beach's oceanfront resort area during the July Fourth weekend, according to Virginia Beach police.
The Commonwealth's Attorney office issued a release Friday saying that ''based upon subsequent interviews with witnesses, it is the Commonwealth's position that the evidence better supports the charge of assault and battery.''
The case had been scheduled for a preliminary hearing Tuesday. In its statement, the Commonwealth's Attorney office said the case instead would go to trial on this misdemeanor charge Tuesday.
Prosecutors said last month that Hunter interrupted a conversation a man was having with someone else. After words were exchanged, Hunter punched the man in the face twice, according to what prosecutors said last month. After a melee ensued and the bar was cleared, prosecutors contended the man who Hunter originally punched was bent over and spitting out blood on the sidewalk, and Hunter ''sucker punched'' him again, before hopping into a waiting vehicle.
Prosecutors said last month that the man's jaw was broken and he had to be treated at a hospital.
Toby Vick, the attorney for Hunter, has said that his client didn't sucker punch anybody. Vick also said Hunter and his friends were not the aggressors in the bar fight.
Tennessee traded up six spots to draft the 6-foot-4, 207-pound Hunter out of the University of Tennessee in 2013 with the 34th pick overall. Hunter played in 14 games as a rookie, catching 18 passes for 354 yards and four touchdowns. He played 12 games before a season-ending injury in 2014 and finished with 28 receptions for 498 yards and three TDs.
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