Las Vegas Sun

September 30, 2014

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Shooter enters plea in ‘Pacman’ Jones melee

A man has pleaded no contest to attempted murder in a strip club melee involving NFL player Adam "Pacman" Jones.

Arvin Kenti Edwards entered the plea Tuesday as part of a plea deal in the 2007 shooting that left a club employee paralyzed and two other people wounded, the Clark County district attorney's office said.

Edwards faces four to 10 years in Nevada state prison when he is sentenced in January, public defender Dan Silverstein said.

Edwards, of Renton, Wash., could have faced as many as 186 years in prison if convicted of all seven felony charges initially filed against him after the shooting.

The charges included three counts of attempted murder, three counts of battery with a deadly weapon causing substantial bodily harm, and one count of being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm.

Edwards maintains he is innocent but agreed to the plea deal because he was worried the court would not give him a lenient sentence if he were convicted, Silverstein said.

"It's not an acknowledgment of guilt," he said. "It is an acknowledgment of if he were to proceed to trial he would not be given a fair hearing."

Silverstein contended his client's $2 million bail was excessive and alleged prosecutors had omitted favorable evidence during a grand jury hearing.

Attorney Robert Langford, who represents Jones, praised the outcome of the case.

"Pac has been doing what he needs to do for the last year and we are all going to be happy to get this sad chapter behind us," Langford said. "He is happy that his version of events has been vindicated."

Police said Jones briefly met with Edwards after Jones and his entourage were ejected from the strip club after a brawl in February 2007.

Edwards and Jones parted, police said, moments before Edwards opened fire with a handgun outside the club.

Police claimed Jones had instigated the brawl by throwing wads of dollar bills from a large plastic trash bag onto a stage then became angry when the strippers picked up the money.

Jones pleaded no contest in 2007 to the gross misdemeanor of conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct in a plea deal that reduced two felony charges of coercion that each carried a possible sentence of one to six years. The Cincinnati Bengals cornerback has denied having a role in the shooting.

Jones later identified Edwards as the shooter in a police lineup.

A valet attendant also identified Edwards as the gunman.

Police said Edwards hounded Jones for $15,000 after the shooting.

Jones told authorities he didn't order the shooting and declined to pay. But he said he reimbursed a friend who paid the money for him because he was worried Edwards would pursue him if he wasn't paid.

Jones was suspended from the NFL for the 2007 season because of his role in the melee and other misconduct off the field. In the first three years after his 2005 draft, Jones was arrested six times on various charges.

Silverstein claimed police never fully explored Jones' role in the high-profile incident, while Edwards was an easy scapegoat.

"'Pacman' Jones had a lot of incentive to deflect attention from him and the other people in the club that night because if the shooter had been a friend of his, he would not be playing cornerback for the Cincinnati Bengals right now," Silverstein said.

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