Suspended indefinitely since an off-field incident two months ago, a development involving Michael Holmes‘ legal situation has left open the possibility for a return to Virginia Tech.
The running back was initially charged with two counts of simple assault and one count of malicious wounding following the April incident. Holmes’ current girlfriend was attacked by his former girlfriend as well as a female cousin, while Holmes’ male cousin joined the fray and suffered multiple injuries at the hands of the player.
Holmes had claimed self-defense, a tactic that the Commonwealth’s Attorney at least partially agreed with as the two simple assault charges were dropped and the malicious wounding, a felony, was reduced to misdemeanor assault and battery. As part of the plea agreement, Holmes received a suspended 12-month jail sentence and probation as well as being ordered to pay more than $13,000 in restitution to one of the victims.
“Holmes was justified in coming to the defense of [his girlfriend],” Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt, who “relied heavily on testimony of an independent witness,” said in a statement. “However, he exceeded his right to come to her defense when he continued to hit [cousin Antoine] Barnes after he was no longer attacking anymore.”
While Holmes’ criminal charges have been resolved, he’s still not out of the legal woods as his female cousin, Kierra Barnes, has filed a $25,000 civil suit against the Hokie. Holmes has claimed that he did not hit any of the females involved in the altercation.
That said, the fact that Holmes no longer has a felony hanging over his head means that a return to the Hokies football team is a realistic possibility. The final decision on a reinstatement will be made by athletic director Jim Weaver, who is on vacation until next Friday and unavailable for comment. Head coach Frank Beamer is also on vacation.
After rushing for 280 yards as a freshman last season, Holmes is viewed as a player who would be expected to carry a more significant role in Tech’s running game this season.