Former WNBA superstar Chamique Holdsclaw turned herself into the Atlanta Fulton County Jail Thursday night after a warrant was issued for her arrest. Holdsclaw is accused of committing an Aggravated Assault, causing Criminal Damage to Property of another, in addition to Reckless Conduct. Holdsclaw, a former All-American for the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers and a perennial WNBA All-Star, is accused of bashing out the windows of her ex-girlfriend’s SUV and shooting a 9MM handgun through the back driver’s side window and into the back passenger door.
Victim and ex-girlfriend Jennifer Lacy told police that Holdsclaw showed up to one of her workouts and asked for her keys to put something in her car. When Lacy got in her vehicle she was alerted by the smell of gasoline and noticed Holdsclaw following her. Lacy then went to a friend’s house only to be followed by Holdsclaw. Upon arrival at the house Holdsclaw became enraged and the above mentioned incident occurred while Lacy was still in the driver’s seat of her vehicle.
Regardless of State, any Tampa criminal lawyer will tell you that when a firearm is present or discharged during the commission of a crime, the situation gets serious in a hurry! Were this incident to have occurred in Florida, I believe Holdsclaw would be facing Aggravated Assault with a Firearm charges, amongst others. Simple assault is a threat, either through words or actions, to do violence to another person while having the apparent ability to do so, and doing an overt act that creates a well founded fear in the victim that violence is imminent. An aggravated assault is an assault when using a deadly weapon, in this case a handgun. Florida and Federal law takes crimes of this nature very seriously. In Florida, Holdsclaw would be facing a minimum mandatory 20 year prison term per Florida Statute 775.087(2)(a)(2) due to discharging the firearm in the commission of the aggravated assault. Without a charge reduction negotiated between a criminal defense attorney and Prosecutor, both the Prosecutor and Judge are bound by statute to a sentence of at least 20 years.
Lesser included crimes Holdsclaw would face should the State fail to convict on the Aggravated Assault charge, and again using a Florida analysis, would include improper exhibition of a weapon and discharge of a weapon in public. Because Holdsclaw, in the presence of Lacy, exhibited in a threatening manner the firearm she possessed, she could be convicted of improper exhibition of a firearm, a first degree misdemeanor. Holdsclaw discharged the firearm on property owned by Lacy’s friend. That property is used primarily to hold his dwelling. Because those two elements are met, she can be convicted of discharging a weapon in public, a first degree misdemeanor.
Holdsclaw will be charged with criminal mischief against Lacy as an independent charge. With respect to the criminal mischief charge, Holdsclaw damaged the personal property of Lacy. Depending on the dollar amount of the damage her criminal mischief charge could range from a Second degree misdemeanor to third degree felony under Florida Statute.
Lacy’s friend is also a victim in this melee. Because Holdsclaw entered the property owned by the friend without being invited she was a trespasser. Pursuant to Florida Statute 810.09(1)(c) when one trespasses on property other than a structure or conveyance while armed with a firearm they are committing a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
This case is interesting to me having had the opportunity to watch Holdsclaw play basketball over the years. Quite honestly I am a fan of her skills on the basketball court. If there were any doubt those days are over, this should be the nail in the coffin. She wrote in her book that she has battled depression. If I were representing Holdsclaw I would dive into the depression issue with both hands as she needs all the help she can get to mitigate her actions. I am unsure of what she is facing under Georgia criminal law. However, I believe it can safely be assumed that she is facing a significant amount of prison time. Regardless of State, discharging a firearm almost certainly brings with it significant penalty and Holdsclaw is looking at just that.
Jason Mayberry is a Tampa criminal lawyer representing those accused of assault and aggravated assault charges. If you have been accused of a criminal offense contact The Mayberry Law Firm today at 813-444-7435 or at 727-771-3847.