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Virginia Tech’s Michael Holmes found guilty on misdemeanor assault charge

Virginia Tech running back Michael Holmes was found guilty of a reduced misdemeanor charge of assault and battery on Tuesday, according to the Montgomery County (Va.) General District Court clerk’s office.

Holmes was sentenced to a 12-month suspended jail sentence and placed on one year of probation. He was also ordered to pay $13,403 in restitution and to not have contact with any victims involved in the case.

Holmes, 20, was originally charged with felony malicious wounding and two counts of simple assault after a fight involving four other people in a parking lot on College Avenue near campus in Blacksburg, Va., around 2 a.m. on April 21.

The simple assault charges were dropped in court on Thursday, and the reduced misdemeanor charge could allow Holmes to be reinstated to the Virginia Tech football team after being indefinitely suspended because of the felony charge. His return will be up to Athletic Director Jim Weaver in the coming weeks.

Holmes’s legal troubles, though, are not over. The Montgomery County General District Court clerk’s office confirmed that one of the victims in the case, Kierra Barnes, filed a $25,000 civil suit against Holmes Thursday in conjunction with the incident. In a court document, Barnes listed “surgery for the nose” as the reasoning for her suit.

In a press release Thursday Montgomery County Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt said an independant witness helped clear up discrepencies from the incident.

The witness said Holmes and his girlfriend, Karoline Seekford were being followed by a group including Ciara Simms, Holmes’s ex-girlfriend and a sophomore on the Virginia Tech track and field team, and Barnes. Following an argument between Holmes and Barnes, the witness saw Simms strike Seekford.

After Holmes tried to pull one of the women off Seekford, Barnes’s cousin, Antoine, became involved and Holmes struck him in the face repeatedly. Holmes’s malicious wounding charge was the result of his altercation with Antoine Barnes, who was treated at LewisGale Medical Center that night. Holmes’s restitution pay is also related to Antoine Barnes’s injuries.

“Holmes was justified in coming to the defense of Seekford,” Pettitt said. “However he exceeded his right to come to her defense when he continued to hit Barnes after he was no longer attacking anyone.”

Kierra Barnes, Simms and Seekford were all initially charged with misdemeanor assault, but those charges have been dropped.

Holmes, who would be a redshirt sophomore next season, started five games last year and rushed for 280 yards and four touchdowns. He finished with a team-high 24 yards in Virginia Tech’s spring game, which took place just hours before the fight occurred.

Mark Giannotto is a Montgomery County native who covers high school sports for The Washington Post. He previously covered Virginia and Virginia Tech football for five years.
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