Once one of the highest-paid stars in the NFL, Winslow faced life in prison but pleaded guilty in exchange for a sentence of 12 to 18 years behind bars

By KC Baker
November 05, 2019 06:57 PM
Kellen Winslow, Jr., 36
John Gibbins/AP

In a surprise move Monday, former NFL Player Kellen Winslow, Jr. agreed to plead guilty to raping a teen in 2003 and to the reduced charge of sexual battery of a 54-year-old to avoid the possibility of life in prison.

Looking uncomfortable as he sat in San Diego County Superior Court Monday, the 36-year-old had asked the judge for extra time to make his decision, the Associated Press and NBC News report.

When the judge asked the former tight end if he had thoroughly discussed the plea agreement with his attorney, Winslow turned around to look at his family before answering, “Yes, yes, your Honor,” NBC San Diego reports.

Asked by the judge if the lesser sentence was a motivating factor in accepting the plea, Winslow said quietly, “It is.”

Kellen Winslow, Jr.
Tim Clayton/Getty Images

In exchange for the plea, the judge sentenced him to 12 to 18 years in prison for the two charges – and dismissed the others, the Associated Press reports.

Winslow will be sentenced in coming weeks, putting an end to the legal troubles he has faced in the last two years.

In June, Winslow was convicted of forcible rape of a 58-year-old homeless woman in Encinitas in San Diego County.

He was also found guilty of two misdemeanors – indecent exposure and a lewd public act, PEOPLE reported previously.

But jurors were unable to decide on eight other charges he faced, including the rape of the unconscious 17-year-old and the rape of the 54-year-old hitchhiker, forcing a retrial, NBC San Diego reports.

The retrial would have included felony charges of kidnapping, sodomy, forced oral copulation and two charges of rape, NBC News reports.

The district attorney and Winslow’s attorneys did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

His attorneys claim he suffers from traumatic brain injury from playing football which they say should be considered when he is sentenced, NBC reports.

In June, Winslow was convicted of raping a homeless woman he had given food and money to in the past, The Washington Post reports.

On Mother’s Day in 2018, he told her that he was taking her to get coffee, but instead drove her to a secluded area and raped her.

Kellen Winslow, Jr.
John Gibbins/AP

“I thought we were going to stop at Denny’s, and he just kept going and going and going and going,” the woman said in her testimony. “He held me, grabbed my arm … and said, ‘We’re going to have sex.’ It was painful. I just kept my eyes closed. I was afraid of him. … He was a super big guy. … I just knew there was no way out.

“He told me if I scream, he’ll choke me to death or murder me — I don’t know what it was,” she testified. “I thought I was on my last night.”

Decisions were also reached in June concerning additional accusations brought against Winslow, in March, which led to his arrest.

Winslow was found guilty of a lewd act when he gestured at his groin and asked a 77-year-old woman working out next to him “if she liked it” at a gym in Carlsbad, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

He was not found guilty of a separate incident, in which he was accused of committing a lewd act next to her in a hot tub a few weeks later.

RELATED: Ex-NFL Star Kellen Winslow Jr. Allegedly Touched Himself in ‘Lewd’ Manner in Front of Woman, 77

He was also found guilty of exposing himself to a 57-year-old woman while she was gardening in Encinitas, the Union-Tribune reported.

“This case is not a he-said, she-said,” Deputy District Attorney Dan Owens told the jury in closing arguments on June 4, according to Yahoo! News. “This case is a she-said and she-said and she-said and she-said and she-said. Five separate women, five separate victims, all corroborated by each other. This man is a sexual predator who has victimized all of these women.”

“Lightning certainly doesn’t strike twice, let alone five times.”

Kevin Winslow, Jr.

Winslow Jr.’s lawyer, Marc Carlos, said in his closing arguments that there were “major-league holes” and inconsistencies in the accusers’ testimonies, according to Yahoo.

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“You will not get an instruction anywhere that says, ‘Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,’” he said. “You will not get that one. But what you will get is that each charge must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, each and every charge. Do not fall into the trap of picking pieces of evidence and making another case stronger. It doesn’t work that way.”

RELATED: Former NFL Player Kellen Winslow Jr. Allegedly Kidnapped and Raped Multiple Women

Winslow earned more than $40 million after playing in the NFL for 10 years. He spent the majority of his football career playing for the Cleveland Browns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He also played for the New England Patriots and the New York Jets.

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