Charge Against Dukes Is Dismissed

A domestic violence charge against the Nats' Elijah Dukes, shown last season with Tampa Bay, was dismissed when his accuser failed to appear in court.
A domestic violence charge against the Nats' Elijah Dukes, shown last season with Tampa Bay, was dismissed when his accuser failed to appear in court. (By Chris O'meara -- Associated Press)
By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A judge yesterday dismissed a domestic violence case against Washington Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes when the woman who filed the complaint failed to appear in a Tampa court. Dukes's attorney also released documents that he intended to submit in the case, accusing the woman of having knowledge regarding the theft of Dukes's property, including his car.

Dukes, acquired by the Nationals in a Dec. 3 trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, had been the subject of a protection order sought by Amanda E. Reese, 23, of Tampa. Reese, who already had a temporary injunction, was seeking protection for a year. Because Reese did not show up, Hillsborough County Judge Raul C. Palomino Jr. dismissed the case, court records show.

Dukes, whose long history of legal and personal problems has overshadowed his baseball career, was prepared to challenge the allegations against him, according to attorney Grady C. Irvin Jr.

"The young lady who made the allegation, those allegations were going to be tested," Irvin said in a telephone interview. "We were going to challenge them."

In a petition filed Dec. 10, Reese, who said she dated Dukes from August to October, claimed Dukes sent her threatening text messages, once in October and again in November. Irvin, though, said Dukes had entrusted Reese to watch his home and car while he traveled to the Dominican Republic, where he played winter baseball.

"When he became suspicious of this person and the company that she kept, she asked him to leave his property," Irvin said.

Reese did not return a message left on her cellphone seeking comment yesterday.

Irvin said Dukes believes Reese played a role in the theft and damage of Dukes's Lexus, as well as in the theft of what Irvin described as Christmas presents for one of Dukes's daughters, which occurred while he was playing winter ball in October and November.

In a copy of a motion Irvin said he intended to submit in court, Irvin charged that Reese "has knowledge of the theft of [Dukes's] automobile, the extensive damage done to the automobile, the theft of Christmas gifts [Dukes] had stored in his home for his little girl, and the recent unauthorized entry of persons into [Dukes's] home while [Dukes] was in the Dominican Republic engage [sic] in winter baseball."

"This is someone he entrusted with his home," Irvin said. "We thought about having the authorities look into it, but the only reason he hasn't done that is because he's trying to stay out of the media. He got his car back, and he can get a new car or get it fixed. It's only money. He's trying to turn his life around."

Dukes has a lengthy history of legal problems, including charges of assault, dating from his teenage years. He has also been named in several paternity suits and admitted to regularly smoking marijuana. Last spring, his bitter divorce played out in public when his estranged wife shared threatening messages from Dukes with the St. Petersburg Times. Dukes was dropped from the Rays' roster in June.

The Nationals acquired Dukes in exchange for a Class A pitcher because of his enormous physical potential and, as Nationals President Stan Kasten and General Manager Jim Bowden said at the time, because they believed they could help the 23-year-old alter the course of his troubled life.

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