McNeil expected to plead not guilty

Daquein McNeil, a sophomore basketball player, had his first court appearance on Monday.

Logan Wroge

University of Minnesota basketball player Daquein McNeil plans to plead not guilty to charges that claim he assaulted his girlfriend and wants to return to school as soon as possible, his attorney said Monday.

McNeil is currently in custody after allegedly beating his girlfriend with a belt and strangling her last week. He made his first court appearance Monday afternoon.

The sophomore guard is suspended from all team activity until his case is resolved.

At the Monday court appearance, a judge set McNeil’s conditional bail at $30,000. That would require the player to stay away from the 900 block of Fulton Street Southeast where the alleged assault occurred, keep out of contact with his girlfriend and avoid further criminal charges, among other conditions.

Hennepin County Judge Gina Brandt told McNeil the no-contact stipulation includes a ban from social media use and attempting to contact the victim through other people.

F. Clayton Tyler, McNeil’s attorney, told reporters after the court appearance that the player would need about $3,000 in cash to make conditional bail, but raising that money would be difficult for an unemployed student-athlete.

McNeil’s next hearing is set for Jan. 5. If he can’t come up with bail money, Tyler said he will push to move up the second hearing date.

“Any time you’re a student-athlete, routine is important. He wants to get back into school,” Tyler said.

As charges against McNeil were read off to him on Monday, he folded his hand and covered his mouth. He’s facing one count of felony third-degree assault and another felony count of domestic assault by
strangulation after the Nov. 24 incident that allegedly occurred at his girlfriend’s apartment.

During the hearing, prosecuting attorney Daniel Homstad requested a large bail because of the “lengthy and brutal” nature of the alleged crime.

McNeil allegedly broke a mirror, pulled out drawers and poured alcohol on clothes at his girlfriend’s apartment shortly after he arrived to pick up a backpack last week.

He strangled the victim and whipped her with a belt, the complaint against him said.

Police officers found McNeil’s girlfriend with several large welts and bruises later that day.

“It’s a very serious matter, and we’re going to have to deal with the charges,” Tyler told reporters.