Virginia Tech running back Michael Holmes was given the good/bad news when a judge founding him guilty of assault and battery, a misdemeanor, lowering his previous charge of malicious wounding, a felony.
#Hokies RB Michael Holmes has malicious wounding charge reduced to assault and battery, a misdemeanor. Found guilty on that charge.— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) June 13, 2013
Other two charges of simple assault against Holmes were dropped.— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) June 13, 2013
Holmes, though found guilty, by having his charge lowered to a misdemeanor, may now be eligible to return to the football team pending the athletic department and coach Beamer's approval. That path would seem likely based on several previous cases of Hokies that have been cleared to resume their football careers at Virginia Tech in the wake of their legal matters being resolved. In a similar scenario in late 2011, kicker Cody Journell was charged in relation to a break in at former Tech basketball player Dorenzo Hudson's apartment. When he was pleaded down in court and rejoined the team, we posted a poll to ask if the Hokies should have reinstated Journell? The answer there, according to Gobbler Country readers, was 80 percent yes.
In 2012, Holmes began the season as the Hokies' starting running back, but saw his role dwindle as a member of the four-man backfield of J.C. Coleman, Tony Gregory, Martin Scales and himself. He played in 11 games, starting five and ran for 280 yards on 70 carries, leading all running backs with four touchdowns. He also added 23 yards on 5 receptions in the passing game.
Given the circumstances of each case, while Holmes was still found guilty of a misdemeanor, it would seem his transgression was less severe in nature than Journell's. Therefore, his reinstatement to the team, though not guaranteed, is likely.
Holmes given 12-month suspended sentence. Ordered to pay $13,403 to Antoine Barnes in restitution for hospital bills. #Hokies— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) June 13, 2013
Tech's Michael Holmes denies striking either girl in incident. "It was a scuffle. It was kind of a blur. Hard to tell how people got hurt."— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) June 13, 2013
Kiarra Barnes, one of the victims, filed a civil suit against Holmes for $25,000. Claims Holmes broke her nose, which will require surgery.— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) June 13, 2013
If he is cleared to rejoin the team, the new question becomes, will he be able to pay the necessary fees to meet the conditions of his suspended sentance? And will he be responsible for the $25,000 in damages that Kiarra Barnes is seeking in civil court? If so, how much?
Jimmy Turk, Tech TB Michael Holmes' attorney: "I hate that he was convicted of anything. He was defending himself." #Hokies— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) June 13, 2013
Like I've said several times since the incident was reported, I hate this situation for this kid. Regardless of his culpability in the situation, it seems like it was one he was drawn into and was given little choice in the matter of defending someone close to him. We here at Gobbler Country wish him the best of luck going forward, whether it is with the football team at Virginia Tech or not.