McNeil says he is guilty

Elizabeth Smith

Former Gophers basketball player Daquein McNeil pleaded guilty Monday to assaulting his girlfriend, though he will serve no jail time for the November incident. 
McNeil, a sophomore guard for the Gophers at the time of his arrest, reached a plea agreement Monday shortly before his jury trial was set to begin. The deal, which is pending judge approval on Aug. 31, includes three years of probation, domestic abuse counseling and a stay of imposition, which would lower his felony to a misdemeanor if he doesn’t violate his probation.
At his August sentencing, a judge will determine the type of anger management and abuse counseling McNeil will attend, said public defender Bryan Leary, McNeil’s attorney.
McNeil was expected to plead not guilty to third-degree assault and domestic assault by strangulation, but a deal was reached after prosecutors revealed that McNeil made 50 to 60 phone calls to the victim while he was in jail, which violated his no-contact order. However, the girlfriend was receptive to contact and posted his bail last December.
As part of the plea agreement, the domestic assault charge was dismissed, Leary said.
According to court documents, McNeil choked and whipped his girlfriend of 10 months.
McNeil will stay in Hennepin County Jail until his sentencing hearing on Aug. 31, but he will face no further jail time for the incident.
He has been in jail since June 26 after he was arrested for living with his girlfriend, violating his no-contact order.
Under the terms of his release, McNeil wasn’t allowed to contact the victim directly or through a third party or be near her home. He also had to avoid further criminal charges, among other stipulations.
McNeil was suspended from the basketball team in December following the charges and was dismissed in January after he failed to register for spring semester classes.
Had McNeil been convicted of both crimes, he could have faced up to eight years in prison with a fine of up to $15,000, but Leary said he will not face either.