Temple football player to be tried for false imprisonment

Kamal Johnson, Temple defensive tackle charged in assault.
Kamal Johnson, Temple defensive tackle charged in assault.
Posted: October 24, 2012

Temple University football player Kamal Johnson was ordered Tuesday to stand trial for allegedly beating his girlfriend and imprisoning her for several hours in September.

Johnson, who played defensive end, is charged with false imprisonment, unlawful restraint, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, simple assault, and false imprisonment in a preliminary hearing before Judge Teresa Carr Deni.

Formal arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 13. Temple has said Johnson would not practice or play with the team until the charges are resolved. Johnson remains free on bail.

Deni threw out a charge of kidnapping for lack of evidence.

Johnson's girlfriend at the time, Samantha Jones, testified about the Sept. 27-28 incident, which she said took place after she got off of work around 11 p.m. Having had an argument with Johnson earlier that day, she said, she spoke to him by phone while she rode the bus back to her student housing at the Temple campus.

Jones said she was inside her room around midnight when she heard a knock on the door. Not seeing anyone through the peephole, she said, she opened the door slightly to find Johnson, who forced his way into the room and pushed her head against the wall.

Johnson then went around the room searching for her cellphone, Jones testified, before grabbing her arm and pulling her out of the room.

Having Jones stand to show her injuries, Deni recorded three scars on Jones's upper left arm, from 1/4-inch to 2 inches long. Another inch-long scar on the back of Jones's neck came from a necklace she had been wearing, Jones said.

Jones testified that after she was taken out of her room, Johnson continued to drag, push, and otherwise force her down the eighth floor hallway where she lived, into a stairwell, and down to the sixth floor where Johnson lived.

At some points, Johnson did not physically force Jones, she testified during cross examination, but she had no choice but to comply.

"I finally gave up, because I'm like, 'I'm not gonna win,'" Jones said.

Once in Johnson's room, he pushed her onto a chair, she said, and punched her once in the thigh. Johnson choked Jones with both hands, she said, until she could not breathe. He then threw her off the chair and she struck her head against the floor in the process, she said.

At this point, Jones said, her head was hurting and she was bleeding from her neck and arm. Johnson refused to let her go to the bathroom, she said, but did get her a Band-Aid from the bathroom medicine cabinet. He would not let her get up, Jones said, and she did try to leave once but said Johnson told her to sit back down.

"If I was to get up out of the chair," she said during later questioning, "I knew it would be more force applied."

Johnson then sat on the bed and talked about their relationship, Jones testified. She said she was eventually allowed to leave at 3:52 a.m., a time she remembered checking as she left because she had a midterm test the next day.

Jones went to police on October 4, she said, and was taken to the Temple University Hospital emergency room on October 6 because she saw black dots when she went to lie down. There, she said, she was diagnosed with a concussion. She said she had been feeling weak in the time between the alleged incident and the hospital visit, and had been taking Motrin for constant headaches.

Blurry vision also plagued Jones the day of Sept. 28, after the incident occurred, she said, and she did take her midterm but told her professor she wasn't feeling well.

Defense attorney Mariana Rossman questioned Jones's version of events and whether the incident took place, emphasizing the length of time between the alleged incident and Jones going to the police.

"I actually was scared," Jones said, "I didn't know what to do at the time." She said she spoke to her mother the day of the incident, and then to some friends before deciding to talk to police.

But Rossman called the time lapse "extreme telling," and told Deni she had doubts about the veracity of Jones's statements.

After the hearing, Rossman said she would continue to question Jones's credibility. Jones has given several statements that have been inconsistent, Rossman said, and she called the allegations "absolutely baseless."

Contact Jonathan Lai at 215-854-2771, jlai@philly.com, or on Twitter @elaijuh.

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