Former NFL wide receiver David Boston's hands brought him years of glory on collegiate and professional football fields. But in Palm Beach County court Friday, those hands led to a jail sentence.
Circuit Judge Charles Burton ordered Boston to immediately begin serving a six-month term for an aggravated battery conviction. Boston, 34, last month pleaded guilty to the felony charge that resulted from a Nov. 30, 2011, incident involving a female friend at a home in Boca Raton .
Boston, during an alcohol-fueled confrontation, hit a woman above the left eyebrow, creating a wound requiring 10 stitches. Burton compared that "violent act" to being "like Mike Tyson hitting you," unlike weaker people who aren't star athletes.
But the judge also gave the former Miami Dolphins player a big break, declining a request from Assistant State Attorney Christy Rogers for Boston to serve a four-year sentence. Rogers had cited two prior arrests on different charges.
Burton said he agreed to impose less jail time and order five years of probation because of evidence from a defense expert showing that Boston suffers from a brain disorder unrelated to substance abuse problems.
Boston, who during a three-hour hearing apologized for his "shameful" actions, will be required to complete an in-patient treatment program after his release from jail. He has been living with his parents in Texas since the battery arrest.
"I believe he's sincere in his remorse," Burton said.
Defense attorney Guy Fronstin said his client requires and wants help from a mental health facility that he can't get in prison.
"Our goal is he become a productive member of society," Fronstin said.
Boston was a former Ohio State standout who reached the National Football League's Pro Bowl as a wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals. He later played for the San Diego Chargers and Dolphins before injuries cut short his NFL career in 2007.
At Friday's sentencing, psychiatrist Lawrence V. Tucker, of Plano, Texas, testified that a recent evaluation of Boston's brain shows at least four concussions from his playing days. Boston said he had joined a lawsuit by former players suing the league over head trauma.
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