Pittman Receives Probation, No Jail Time in Battery Case

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A former Marshall Basketball player will not serve jail time for a misdemeanor assault charge.

Elijah Pittman, 22, was in Cabell County Circuit Court Thursday.

The former basketball standout was indicted on a misdemeanor battery charge last July, in connection with an incident involving another Marshall student in October 2012.

Investigators say Pittman was arguing with his girlfriend, when Mazen Younis tried to intervene.

They say Pittman hit Younis, knocking him unconscious. Huntington Police say Younis received a concussion, broken nose and facial fractures during the fight.

During Thursday's hearing, Pittman made a no-contest plea to the charge. That means he accepts the punishment, but does not admit guilt in the case.

He told the court, "I just wanted to apologize for my actions, the publicity that I caused in this courtroom and myself and I just want to continue my career and my future and help my family a be a better person."

Judge Alfred Ferguson asked Pittman about his upbringing. Pittman said he was raised my his mother, in a rough area of town, but he did not get in any trouble.

"I don't want to ruin your career. This was a bad thing that you did. I understand that you grew up in an area where there was a lot of stuff going on in the streets," Judge Ferguson said.

The victim, Younis, attended Thursday's hearing. He spoke to the court saying, that Pittman "showed no mercy or remorse".

Pittman's attorney, Ray Nolan, asked for a sentence of two years of unsupervised probation, so that Pittman could go overseas to play basketball.

Before handing down the sentence, Judge Ferguson told Pittman, "If you think the US jails are bad, if you get locked up overseas somewhere, I've seen them on TV, you do not want to get locked up overseas.

Ferguson also alluded to marijuana use by Pittman, saying that if he was caught with drugs overseas, he may never see the light of day again.

Ferguson sentenced Pittman to 12 months behind bars, which is the maximum sentence, but suspended that sentence for two years of unsupervised probation. Ferguson says if Pittman is out of the country, his probation will be unsupervised, but if comes back to the states, he will need to notify the probation department. If Pittman would lie about returning to the states, his probation could be revoked.

After the hearing, Mazen Younis told WSAZ.com that he did not agree with the sentence. "It's funny to me people that have a hard past, that we can justify their actions by, 'Oh yeah, did you have a rough life?'. What about all the people living in war zones or places like that that turn out to be ok? That's the thing that kind of gets me," Younis said.

Younis also told WSAZ.com that, "I wish him (Pittman) the best of luck."

Pittman's attorney, Ray Nolan told WSAZ.com that it was an unfortunate set of facts in the case and spoke about the attention the case has received. "This case has garnered a lot of attention, most prominently because he is a former Marshall athlete. I'm not condoning any sort of proper activity, but we see cases all the time and I can absolutely guarantee you Mr. Puttman did not receive any favorable treatment."

Pittman did not speak to the cameras after the sentencing was handed down.

Pittman was suspended from the Marshall Basketball team in December. It was unrelated to the criminal charge.

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