McClain, Willingham Set to Stand Trial in Decatur on Charges from 2011 Attack
Cell phone video of an attack last November 30th surfaced Wednesday, one day before Oakland Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain and his co-defendant Jaradious Willingham are to set to stand trial on various charges stemming from it.
An attorney for Rishard Tapscott says the video shows Willingham brutally beating Tapscott, after Willingham and McClain insisted Tapscott agree to fight either McClain or Willingham.
Carl Cole is representing Tapscott in a civil lawsuit against Willingham and McClain for unspecified damages related to the attack.
McClain, a former Decatur High School and University of Alabama football player, is due in Decatur municipal court Thursday morning to face Tapscott and charges of assault, reckless endangerment, menacing, and wrongful discharge of a firearm related to the incident last November as well as charges related to a traffic violation last May.
Cole is grateful the video surfaced since he says it clarifies questions over how dangerous the situation was for everyone there.
The incident happened at a house in Decatur.
“He [Tapscott] was called over to this house and we now know that he was called over for the purpose of these guys jumping on him and that’s exactly what happened,” said Cole.
He said Tapscott suffered severe injuries as he was repeatedly punched and kicked.
“A broken nose,” said Cole. “He had a mild concussion, cracked ribs.”
Cole pointed out that in the video, someone can be heard telling another person to put away a gun.
McClain has denied there was a gun on the scene, but Tapscott told Cole a different story.
“The gun was held to his head and he was threatened and then the gun was moved to the side of his head and shot by his ear,” said Cole.
He said the motive of the attack isn’t clear, but McClain threatened Tapscott as recently as two months ago.
“Rolando told Mr. Tapscott that ‘After May 17th, I’m coming for your head’.. whatever that means,” said Cole.
Cole plans to be in the courtroom Thursday morning to hear the judge’s ruling after Tapscott and other witnesses testify against McClain and Willingham.
WHNT NEWS 19 reached out to McClain’s attorney, Harvey Steinberg, a well-known defense attorney from Denver, Colorado, as well as McClain’s former defense attorney in Decatur, Billy Burney. Neither responded.
The city prosecutor says the maximum punishment for a conviction is six months in jail and a $500 fine, since the charges are misdemeanors and considered violations of city ordinances.
If there is a conviction, the defendents can appeal it to Circuit Court to pursue a jury trial.
Tapscott, Willingham and McClain have known each other since childhood in Decatur.
Cole also noted that towards the end of the video, Rolando McClain appears on camera laughing and yelling, “World Star Hip Hop.”
He says that refers to a website that publishes videos of attacks against people and allows people to rank the videos.
Cole suspects that could be a motive for the fight and the reason no one at the gathering stopped it.
“That explains why everybody there came out with a camera phone and started recording all this instead of doing something about it and stopping the fight,” said Cole.
McClain and Willingham are set to appear in front of Municipal Judge Billy Cook at 8:30 a.m. Thursday in Decatur on the second floor of the City Hall building.
No cameras or recording devices are allowed in the courtroom.