Washington Redskins wide receiver Ricky Sanders, facing several charges, including attempted murder, in connection with a May 1 incident at a Houston topless bar, surrendered himself to law-enforcement authorities in Texas yesterday.
As expected, Sanders posted a $5,000 bond and was released. He flew to Houston yesterday morning in time for the appearance and was scheduled to return to Washington last night and be in Carlisle, Pa., this afternoon for the beginning of training camp. That's an off day for Redskins veterans.
Judge Donald Shipley of Houston's 180th Circuit Court is expected to order Sanders to return to Houston on Friday for a hearing on the incident.
"We don't expect him to miss any football time," said Wendell Odom, his Houston-based attorney. "We got everything on the public record today and now the next step is to go to the district attorney and start getting our side of this thing on the record."
Sanders on Friday was charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault in connection with an argument in a Houston parking lot. Sam Jamus, 28, said that Sanders struck him with his Cadillac, causing several serious injuries, including a concussion.
Jamus's attorney, Tom Hall of San Antonio, said yesterday he had attempted to negotiate a financial settlement with Sanders for the past 2 1/2 months "but that they didn't take us seriously. We did mention a dollar amount to them, but they had no intention of talking because there was no admission of guilt. We believe Mr. Sanders intentionally injured Mr. Jamus."
Hall said he would file a civil suit on Monday. He will not reveal the dollar amount. Under Texas law, financial amounts aren't required in the first lawsuit petitions.
Hall said he would name a dollar amount in the later petition. He said yesterday he also was leaning toward naming a surprise defendant -- the Washington Redskins.
That would be a new legal tact, especially considering the grounds on which Hall would make them a defendant.
"They're partly responsible," he said, "because those guys are so trained to do one thing they don't know the difference between organized violence and civil disobedience."
Attorneys for Sanders, as well as his friends on the Redskins, consider the entire incident a ploy to obtain money from a famous and wealthy player. They point out that police weren't called to the scene the night of the incident and that a civil complaint was filed by Jamus only after he had exhausted attempts to gain a financial settlement from Sanders.
"I think Ricky understands what's going on," Odom said. "He's taking it real well. He's had a string of bad luck and is fairly philosophical. People of his caliber have this type thing happen to them."
At issue is what happened when Sanders and a friend were leaving The Men's Club in west Houston on May 1. The argument began when Sanders argued with a parking-lot attendant over why two hubcaps were missing from his gold Cadilliac Fleetwood.
Jamus, the manager of the valet parking service, overheard the argument and came over to intercede. After he and Sanders argued, he walked away.
What happened next is what the two sides disagree on. Jamus said Sanders veered the car toward him, knocked him over the hood and that he landed on the pavement. He was taken to Houston's Twelve Oaks Hospital, where he remained for several days with a concussion "and several internal injuries," Hall said. Hall said Jamus has just been able to return to work, and on a part-time basis.
Sanders, who was unavailable to comment, said he never intentionally hit Jamus and that if there was any contact at all, Jamus may have initiated it by slapping the auto with his hand. Both sides said they have witnesses to support their stories.
Odom said he will begin giving Sanders's side of the story to the Harris County district attorney's office on Monday and is hopeful that when the file is referred to a grand jury, no indictment will be returned.