Charges against Mayo dismissed; Ayers enters plea, gets two-game suspension

Robert Ayers' aggravated assault charge was resolved Monday in a virtual carbon copy of Tennessee football teammate Tony McDaniel's case last week.

And for Jerod Mayo, involved in the March incident with Ayers, his charge went away all together.

Mayo had his charges of aggravated assault dismissed Monday in Knox County General Sessions court.

Ayers entered a guilty plea to an amended charge of misdemeanor assault and was placed in judicial diversion.

Ayers was also suspended from UT's first two games, head coach Phillip Fulmer said Monday.

Both the plea and the two-game suspension mirror McDaniel's penalty from a separate on-campus incident. Both players also were suspended from summer school by the university judiciary system.

Ayers and Mayo, both redshirt freshmen, had been charged with aggravated assault, a felony, for involvement in a fight between football players and a campus fraternity at the University Center on March 4.

Shadiyah Murphy, whom Ayers confessed striking twice to police, was briefly in the courtroom but did not speak.

"Robert's never been in any trouble," said Wade Davies, Ayers' attorney. "The facts show that his participation in the fight was pretty minor.

"He's real pleased to get this behind him in a way that's going to allow him to get the case dismissed and get his record clean."

The charge will be dismissed and expunged from the record if Ayers doesn't get in any more trouble during the diversion period of 11 months and 29 days.

As part of the plea, Ayers agreed to pay out-of-pocket medical expenses incurred by Murphy up to $3,000. The exact amount has yet to be determined.

Mayo's charge was dismissed because the prosecution could not go forward without the participation of witness Thomas Stallworth, who was not present.

Stallworth, a former UT player, told police in March he saw Mayo hit Murphy.

Mayo maintained from the start it was a case of mistaken identity and was prepared to produce witnesses to that account.

"I'm glad to see Jerod Mayo cleared of any issues," Fulmer said in a UT-released statement.

Ayers, already suspended from the team over the incident, will miss the first two games as part of his internal disciplinary action, Fulmer said.

The defensive end will also be on curfew for the fall semester and will have community-service and anger-management obligations to fulfill.

Ayers' punishment from the university was suspension from summer school and being placed on indefinite probation, Fulmer said.

Monday's court actions leave only defensive Corey Campbell with pending legal issues. Campbell is scheduled in court Wednesday for two traffic citations and an unresolved 2004 shoplifting case.

Four Vols — Campbell, Ayers, McDaniel and Daniel Brooks — are suspended from the Sept. 3 season-opener against Alabama Birmingham. Ayers, McDaniel and Brooks will also miss the Florida game on Sept. 17.

Brooks completes a three-game suspension against LSU and will return for the Ole Miss game on Oct. 1.

Mike Strange may be reached at 865-342-6276.

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