Bengals cornerback Adam Jones was found not guilty by Hamilton County visiting Judge Bob Taylor on Tuesday, concluding the two-day trial. Jones was charged with assault after striking Shannon Wesley, 34, at a downtown bar in mid-June.
Jones' lawyer Ralph Kohnen rested without calling any witnesses and relied largely on the video that showed Wesley approaching Jones with the bottle in her hand. Claiming self-defense, Jones struck the woman before he was pulled away by teammate Chris Lewis-Harris just prior to a bouncer leading Jones away.
During his decision Tuesday afternoon, Judge Taylor cited the video evidence saying, "I saw Shannon Wesley holding a beer bottle in her hand" and the bottle was move towards Jones' eye "with her arm extended." Taylor slightly admonished Jones for "lacking in civility" but ruled in his favor.
"The initial aggressor in this case was Shannon Wesley with the beer bottle," he said during his decision. "It wasn't an action. It was a reaction."
The prosecution called several witnesses, most of whom were Wesley's friends that night. There's little doubt that a verbal exchange occurred and things deteriorated after that. Wesley confronted Jones, who was disparaging her friends. But Wesley was the first that, per Judge Taylor and the trial is over after his not guilty ruling.
The next stage is determining whether Jones will be given discipline by the NFL. Considering that he wasn't found guilty, it's probable that all of this ends. On the other hand, the NFL doesn't necessarily need a guilty verdict to discipline a player, especially if that player is routinely generating headlines with his trouble against the law.