UI football player makes court appearance
URBANA — A University of Illinois football player accused of beating two men who were holding hands as they walked is due back in court next week.
Christopher Jones, 20, who listed an address in the 400 block of East Chalmers Street, was charged Tuesday in Champaign County Circuit Court with two counts of aggravated battery for allegedly hitting two men in the head early Sunday.
Assistant State's Attorney Scott Larson said the men were walking in the 600 block of East Daniel Street holding hands when Jones drove by in a car.
He and others in the car taunted the pedestrians by calling them derogatory names, Larson said. The car stopped, Jones got out and called the men more names, Larson said.
He then hit each of them in the head with a fist. One sustained a cut to the inside of his mouth and the other had swelling around his eyes, he said.
Larson said Jones, a defensive tackle for the Illinois team, told police that he had been "jumped" by one of the men a week earlier.
Larson noted for Judge Rich Klaus that Jones weighs 320 pounds while the alleged victims weigh 140 and 165 pounds. Larson said the attack was recorded on a security video.
Klaus agreed to appoint the public defender for Jones.
Assistant Public Defender Janie Miller-Jones said Jones is an incoming freshman on a scholarship who is currently attending summer school and has no income.
Larson said Jones had prior police contact in Florida for possession of cocaine.
Klaus declined to reduce the $100,000 bond set for Jones over the weekend by Judge Chase Leonhard, meaning Jones will need to post $10,000 in cash to get out of jail.
He told him to be back in court July 14 for a preliminary hearing.
UI spokesman Kent Brown said Jones has been suspended.
Duval County, Fla., records show Jones pleaded guilty in July 2010 to cocaine possession and was sentenced to 60 days' probation. Brown said UI football coach Ron Zook is aware of that conviction.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.