Oklahoma football signee Justin Chaisson, accused of holding a screwdriver to the neck of his ex-girlfriend and threatening to kill her, has agreed to a plea deal that would have his three felony charges reduced to gross misdemeanors, a spokesman for the Las Vegas Clark County Courts said Wednesday. As part of the deal, Chaisson waived his right to a preliminary hearing and pleaded no contest to a pair of misdemeanors, coercion and domestic battery, in justice court Wednesday morning, Clark County Courts information officer Michael Sommermeyer said. As a result, a judge sentenced Chaisson to a year of domestic-violence counseling. Chaisson’s case will now move to a May 6 hearing in district court, which handles gross misdemeanors and felonies. There, if Chaisson pleads no contest to felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment and coercion, the felonies will be reduced to gross misdemeanors, pending a judge’s approval, Sommermeyer said. It’s unclear what sentence Chaisson would face, though gross misdemeanor convictions can carry jail time. Chaisson’s charges stem from a March 17 incident in which he was arrested for allegedly attacking his 17-year-old ex-girlfriend by forcing her into his car and threatening to kill her with a screwdriver. The day before the alleged attack, the ex-girlfriend obtained a restraining order against Chaisson, but the charge for violating the order was thrown out April 19 after no representative for the plaintiff showed up in court. Chaisson, a defensive end out of Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High School, was one of OU’s top prospects from the 2009 recruiting class. Sooner football coach Bob Stoops or university officials are yet to comment on Chaisson’s status. But if the felony charges are reduced, that would significantly improve Chaisson’s chances of being allowed to come to campus and play for the Sooners next fall. Last spring, Atlanta native Josh Jarboe was allowed to keep his football scholarship and enroll at OU after his two felony gun charges were pleaded down to misdemeanors. Jarboe, however, was eventually dismissed from the team when a YouTube video of him rapping about shooting people surfaced on the Internet days before the start of fall camp.
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