Stewart enters not guilty plea

By Michelle Roberts

Arizona Daily Wildcat

When the sheriff's deputy leaned over the railing toward UA football player Derrick Stewart in court yesterday, it was not to get him to sign an official court document. It was to get him to sign an autograph.

The junior cornerback entered a not guilty plea to charges of aggravated assault using a deadly weapon and causing serious injury at his arraignment in Pima County Justice Court.

Stewart, who was slated to start this year, was indicted at the end of August in connection with a May 21 incident. If convicted, Stewart could face five to 15 years on each of the felony charges.

Justice Jim Himelic released Stewart on his promise to appear. Pre-trial motions will be heard beginning Oct. 18.

The charges stem from an incident that began with a verbal exchange between the victim, an airman at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and the girlfriend of another player, according County Deputy Attorney Gerald Piccirilli.

Officers responded to a "large fight" at a party and found the victim with mouth injuries, according to police reports. He was transported to Tucson Medical Center and underwent surgery for a broken jaw.

Witnesses told officers that the victim was hit with a flashlight or microphone.

Following the indictment, Wildcats football coach Dick Tomey suspended Stewart for two games. The suspension ended after Arizona's game against Georgia Tech last week, and he returned to practice Monday.

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