PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – An attorney for a Houston Rockets power forward accused of stomping on a homeless man in downtown Portland this week denies the allegations, instead claiming that his client Terrence Jones tripped over him.
In a statement sent to KOIN Thursday, attorney Kevin O’Connell stated that the 21-year-old former Jefferson High School star “is a gentleman with not a mean bone in his body.”
O’Connell alleged that Jones was with a crowd of people being “herded” by police back onto the sidewalk after coming out of a nightclub when he “tripped” over 46-year-old Daniel John Kellerher. O’Connell admitted that Jones yelled at Kellerher to “wake up,” and “may have nudged him.”
According to Portland police, early Wednesday morning Jones was exiting the Tube nightclub with a large group when a sergeant observed him yell at Kellerher and another homeless man who were sleeping in the doorway of 114 NW 3rd Ave. to “wake up.” Jones then stomped on Kellerher’s legs, police said. He was arrested moments later.
O’Connell points out that the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office never used the word “stomp” in its charging document, which instead has the phrase “offensive physical contact.”
The statement also contends that the arresting officer never determined if Kellerher needed medical attention. On Wednesday, police stated that Kellerher suffered a minor leg injury that did not require any significant medical care.
“Mr. Kellerher received no medical attention and apparently needed none,” O’Connell wrote.
Jones was booked and released from the Multnomah County Jail on one count of misdemeanor harassment after posting $1,500 bail.
“He certainly would not, and did not, intend to cause Mr. Kellerher any harm,” the statement read. “He is confident that those who know him understand that the charge and accusation that Terrence intentionally committed a crime cannot be true. It is inconsistent with his character.”
Jones appeared at his arraignment Wednesday afternoon with his mother, Linda Mashia –Jones. He entered a not guilty plea. Judge Eric Block granted him permission to remain out of custody and travel outside the state, under the guideline that he maintain contact with his attorney. His trial date was set for Sept. 6.
Rockets spokesperson Tracey Hughes said the team had no comment when contacted by email.
The 18th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft out of Kentucky, Jones averaged 5.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 14.5 minutes in only 19 regular season games last season for Houston.
– Faris Tanyos