Former NFL defensive lineman Justin Bannan was sentenced Thursday to 16 years in state prison after shooting a Colorado woman in a bizarre 2019 incident.
Bannan, 42, was found guilty in September of attempted murder and first-degree assault, among other charges stemming from a shooting at Black Lab Sports in Boulder, Colorado on October 16, 2019. The 12-year NFL veteran told police on the scene that he was hiding from the Russian mafia when he hid in an acupuncturist’s treatment room and shot her when she opened the door.
Bannan’s sentencing hearing was originally scheduled for Nov. 5 then delayed multiple times due to COVID-19 issues. Bannan’s lawyers requested one postponement after a member of his legal team tested positive for COVID-19, then a second postponement after Bannan himself tested positive in jail.
“According to the jail nurse, Mr. Bannan will be considered infectious and will be quarantined for at least 10 days,” his lawyers wrote in a motion.
Bannan played for five teams over the course of his NFL career, including the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos. At trial, he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, citing the effects of head injuries from his NFL career, among other things.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, argued that Bannan was voluntarily intoxicated at the time of the shooting. The ex-lineman was carrying a rolled-up $20 bill that contained traces of cocaine at the time of his arrest, according to police records, and prosecutors said he tested positive for cocaine at a pre-trial drug test in April 2020.
The victim in the shooting, Ashley Marie, told USA TODAY Sports in an interview last year that she was arriving for work on the day of the shooting when she saw Bannan crouched in the corner of her treatment room with a handgun. She said Bannan shot her as soon as she opened the door.
The bullet pierced Marie’s shoulder and fractured her humerus bone. Marie has since filed a civil lawsuit against Bannan, which had been put on pause until the conclusion of the criminal trial.
“Every time I have to open an unknown door, I’m thinking twice,” Marie told USA TODAY Sports. “And then actually stepping out of the way – just to make sure there’s not a bullet coming my way.”
Contact Tom Schad at [email protected] or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.
‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort