Police seek phone records in Leroy Hill assault investigation

August 3, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

Probe could lead to more charges

Issaquah police intend to search phone records to determine whether forbidden contact occurred between Seattle Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill and the girlfriend police said he assaulted in April.

Police requested a warrant July 27 to search the girlfriend’s mobile phone records to determine if she and Hill had broken a court-issued no-contact order, a misdemeanor.

Leroy Hill

Investigators intend to use the records to determine if witness tampering or intimidation took place. If detectives determine witness tampering took place, Hill could face a felony charge.

“Based on my experience, domestic violence victims and defendants can communicate with each other, even after the issuance of court orders,” Issaquah Detective Sgt. Bob Porter wrote in court documents.

The assault charge stems from a dispute between Hill, 27, and his girlfriend at the Talus home they shared.

The girlfriend confronted Hill about seeing other women, and asked to see his phone to determine whom he had been calling.

During the ensuing dispute, police said Hill pulled her down a set of stairs by her ponytail. They also pushed each other, court documents state.

The girlfriend then called her mother. The mother and Hill both called police. Officers arrested Hill just before midnight April 10.

Police said the girlfriend had scratches on her left arm, and she complained about pain on the back of her head. She told police Hill had assaulted her in the past, the documents said.

Issaquah Municipal Court issued a no-contact order for Hill and the woman on April 12.

During a May 19 court hearing, Judge N. Scott Stewart kept a no-contact order in place between Hill and the woman, although the woman asked for the order to be lifted.

Less than a week later, on May 25, a police officer noticed the girlfriend’s car parked outside Hill’s home. The same officer has also seen the vehicle there on two other occasions since the April incident.

Detectives attempted to deliver a subpoena to the woman several times, including at her residence, her mother’s home and her workplace. The woman did not return several phone calls from police.

Prosecutors also had trouble reaching the woman’s mother — a key witness in the case.

But the woman’s attorney e-mailed the prosecutor prior to a July 23 hearing, and said she had hoped to avoid the news media attention the case had generated.

The judge issued a material witness warrant last week for her to appear in court. The woman has since turned herself in and been subpoenaed by the city.

Porter requested mobile phone records from the day the judge issued the no-contact order to the present — more than three months. Police also want to review call origination and termination locations, plus GPS satellite positioning information for the phone.

“From the evidence of [her] car being at Hill’s residence, and [her] declining to respond to the police, I believe they have been in contact with each other via phone also,” the detective wrote.

The assault trial in the case had been scheduled to start July 29, but defense attorney Jon Fox requested for the trial to be postponed until next month.

Stewart granted the request. Hill has waived the right to a speedy trail. The jury call has been set for Aug. 20.

Hill has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Unless the defense attorney and City Prosecutor Lynn Moberly reach a settlement in the meantime, the trial could begin the following week. The prosecutor said the circumstances could make the defense amenable to a plea deal.

“We are continuing to talk and I do have a reluctant victim, and I have a mother who’s a key witness,” Moberly said July 30.

NFL officials suspended Hill without pay from the Sept. 4 season opener against the San Francisco 49ers for violating the league substance-abuse policy. Hill pleaded guilty to marijuana possession in Georgia less than a month before the Issaquah incident.

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