The divorce drama between former NFL star Deion Sanders and his estranged wife Pilar is expected to play out inside a courtroom at the Collin County Courthouse Friday morning and into next week.
A criminal case against Deion appears to be growing.
During a hearing that begins at 10 a.m., the judge will hear evidence from all involved as he considers granting protective orders requested by both Deion and Pilar Sanders.
Investigators with the police department in Sanders’ hometown of Prosper, Texas (north of Dallas), have asked the Collin County District Attorney’s Office to review their request for a Criminal Mischief charge against Deion.
The criminal complaint that police filed with prosecutors says their recommendation for the charge results from the department’s ongoing investigation into the April 23rd domestic dispute between Deion and Pilar Sanders at their home.
The “Class A Misdemeanor Criminal Mischief” charge that police are now recommending is more serious than the “Class C Simple Assault” misdemeanor charge that both Pilar and Deion were cited for shortly after the incident.
Conviction on a Class A misdemeanor carries a maximum prison sentence of one year and fine of $4,000, according to Texas statutes. A Class C misdemeanor, by comparison, carries a fine of no more than $500 and no prison sentence.
A Prosper police officer who responded to the disturbance call at the Sanders home along with another officer testified Thursday during a court hearing in the divorce case. Officer John Gardner said a cellphone belonging to Deana Boswell, a friend of Pilar Sanders, was found smashed outside the house and that Deion Sanders admitted to throwing the phone.
Officer Gardner interviewed Sanders immediately after the incident. The officer testified that Deion told him that “he was in a kitchen area attached to his bedroom in his end of the house when Pilar Sanders began to kick at the kitchen door.” He told the officer that his wife “began slapping him, so he grabbed her by the waist and carried her from the bedroom.”
Gardner further testified, “Deion said when he got outside the bedroom, his wife and her friend Deana Boswell began to hit him.”
“Boswell held a cellphone up to videotape the incident, but Sanders said he knocked the phone away,” Officer Gardner said. “The phone was later found outside, with its memory card nearby.”
“He said, ‘I don’t know. I just threw it out here.’ And that’s where I found it at,” Gardner testified.
According to the story Deana Boswell told, “I had my phone in my left hand, and I was able to capture Deion striking Pilar in the head with a statue.”
“Pilar was crouched down on the floor like this,” she said covering her head with her hands to demonstrate what she saw. “Pilar said that’s how her thumb got injured.”
“A crime lab test of the memory card (from the phone) came back with no video on it,” Officer Gardner later confirmed.
Pilar Sanders was arrested later that day after being taken to an area hospital. She spent the night in Collin County jail and was released the next day.
Deion Sanders, meanwhile, posted on Twitter that he was filing charges against his wife and ‘tweeted’ a photo of him and his two sons filling-out police reports. Officer Gardner said he watched Sanders and the boys fill out the police reports, but didn’t know about the photo. Sanders later deleted the photo from Twitter.
Asked how Pilar Sanders might have injured her lip, as it appeared in her mug shot, Officer Gardner said her injury looked like she might have bitten her own lip. Gardner and the other police officer who responded to the Sanders home, Sgt. Bryan Golden, both said they didn’t see any signs of an attack on Pilar Sanders, who told police she entered her husband’s bedroom because she hadn’t seen one of their sons for 3 days.
Earlier Thursday, Pilar Sanders’ attorney, said her arrest after allegations that she attacked Deion was “a complete setup.”
Thursday’s hearing was part of the couple’s battle over custody of their 3 children and who will keep their $5.7 million home.
Deion Sanders filed for divorce in December 2011, but they shared the home until Pilar’s arrest after the fight. Police later charged Deion Sanders but said his charge didn’t warrant an arrest.
Pilar’s attorney also said Deion violated a gag order in the case by doing TV interviews and posting updates on Twitter.
“It’s never about anybody but Deion Sanders,” her attorney said.
But Deion’s attorney fired back’ saying, “Pilar Sanders has failed to take their children to school on time and has been ‘physically abusive’ to them.”
“His children are one of the main reasons he’s here,” his attorney said. “His role of father exceeds the role of most fathers.”
Jeffery Shore, an attorney for the children, ages 12, 10 and 8, said they are struggling in school and need counseling.
“They live in a combat zone,” Shore said.
The hearing is expected to continue Friday and into next week.