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Police push more serious charge against Deion Sanders after domestic dispute

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 7:07 PM EDT, Thu May 3, 2012
Former football and baseball player Deion Sanders may face Class A misdemeanor charges in a domestic violence case.
Former football and baseball player Deion Sanders may face Class A misdemeanor charges in a domestic violence case.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Deion Sanders was involved in a dispute with his estranged wife last week
  • Pilar Sanders was arrested; husband was cited for a Class C misdemeanor
  • Prosper, Texas, police now want Deion Sanders charged with a Class A misdemeanor
  • If charged and convicted, the ex-NFL star could face up to one year in prison

(CNN) -- Police in suburban Dallas are recommending that ex-football star Deion Sanders face a charge that could land him in prison for a year, after a dispute last week that led to his estranged wife's arrest, authorities said Thursday.

The fact that the Prosper, Texas, police sought charges against Sanders is not entirely unexpected, as he and a third person had been cited for misdemeanor assault in the incident in question, according to a statement from that town's police released April 25.

But the "Class A Misdemeanor Criminal Mischief" charge that police are now recommending is more serious than the "Class C Simple Assault" charge that Sanders was cited for shortly after the incident.

A 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.

The case is now in the hands of the Collin County district attorney's office.

As of Thursday afternoon, Sanders -- a 2011 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a former Major League Baseball standout who is now an NFL Network analyst -- had not been arrested, Prosper police said in the statement.

"The investigation is continuing, and no other information is available at this time," police said.

Pilar Sanders: 'I am innocent'
Deion Sanders' divorce war

Authorities responded to a domestic disturbance call the afternoon of Monday, April 23, at a Prosper residence where Sanders, 44, complained he was assaulted by Pilar Sanders, 38, and another woman identified as Dianna Boswell, also 38, according to an earlier police statement.

Pilar Sanders was detained on a charge of simple assault, a misdemeanor, that statement said.

After further investigation, police cited Boswell and Deion Sanders for "Class C simple assault," but neither was taken into custody.

Pilar Sanders was released a day later and said she hadn't been given a "fair shake" over allegations that she attacked Sanders in an incident he made public in a series of bizarre Twitter postings.

"I understand that I have very little chance at beating a Hall of Fame, two-sport man that everyone seems to love and adore," Pilar Sanders said, proclaiming her innocence.

The Collin County Sheriff's Office said Pilar Sanders, under an emergency protective order, is forbidden from returning to the couple's home for 61 days and cannot threaten or harass any member of the family.

In one of the messages posted last week on his verified Twitter account, Deion Sanders included a photo of what he said were his children filling out complaints to give to police in Texas.

"Pray for me and my kids now! They just witnessed their mother and a friend jump me in my room," said the first tweet, posted at 6:15 p.m. "She's going to jail n I'm pressing charges!"

Two minutes later, Sanders tweeted again.

"I'm sad my boys witnessed this mess but I warned the police department here that she was gone try n harm me and my boys. This is on my mama!" it said.

Pilar Sanders was booked on suspicion of assault family violence, according to booking records at the Collin County Jail. Bail was set at $264.

"I can tell you that there are two sides to every story, and the truth will come out in court," Larry Friedman, an attorney for Pilar Sanders, said on the day of her release.

The Sanderses have three children together. Deion Sanders has two other children from an earlier relationship.

The couple married in 1999 and starred in a reality show, "Deion & Pilar: Prime Time Love," that aired on the Oxygen network. The marriage soured, however, and the two are engaged in bitter divorce proceedings.

In February, Pilar Sanders filed a suit against her husband and his aunt, Laura Jones. She said the aunt attacked her in their 10-bedroom, 29,000-square-foot home in Prosper while Deion Sanders watched.

At the time, the athlete tweeted that his wife was the aggressor and the aunt was in the home merely to fix his phone.

Pilar Sanders also filed a separate suit against her husband and his daughter, Deiondra, after she called her stepmother a "gold-digging (expletive)" and "the number one gold digger of the year" in Twitter posts.

Deion Sanders played for several NFL teams, including the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons. During much of his NFL career, he also was an outfielder with four Major League Baseball teams and played in a World Series with the Atlanta Braves.

The NFL Network and Sanders' business manager, Constance Schwartz, have declined to comment about the incident. But a clearly emotional Sanders spoke to Dallas television station KXAS hours after his estranged wife's arrest and appealed for help.

"I got locks on my doors right now," he told the station. "Is somebody going to have to die? Is it going to be me before the court does something and get this woman out of my house? It's absurd."

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