Jury deliberates Jon Beason civil case

A Mecklenburg jury deliberated about two hours Wednesday without reaching a verdict on whether Carolina Panthers linebacker Jon Beason assaulted a patron at a Charlotte strip club in November 2009.

The jurors - eight women and four men - will resume their deliberations today. If the jurors decide that Beason assaulted Gregory Frye at the Uptown Cabaret, they must then decide if the victim is entitled to recover money for his injuries and if Beason also must pay punitive damages.
The jurors are also considering whether Frye slandered the NFL football player.

After deliberating an hour, the jurors sent a note to the judge asking to see the layout of the strip club and the x-ray of Frye's skull, the doctor's report and the medical records. Superior Court Judge Lane Williamson did not allow the jurors to see the evidence after one of Beason's attorneys objected.

During closing arguments Tuesday, Beason's attorney told the jurors that Frye had targeted the football player in an attempt to win money, but Frye's attorney told the jurors they should hold the celebrity athlete accountable.

Frye, in a civil lawsuit, accused Beason of knocking him down with a punch, then hitting him again when he got up. The confrontation came after Frye told another Panthers player that he had seen Beason using cocaine months earlier at a party on Lake Norman.

Beason has denied the attack and the drug use.

Carlos Watson, one of Frye's attorneys, told the jury that Beason struck Frye "in a fit of rage."

"He knocked a hole in his face," he said.

Curtis Osborne, another of Frye's attorneys, told jurors his client had done nothing to provoke the assault, which left Frye with a crushed nasal cavity.

Osborne called Beason's conduct "reprehensible."

"He's a walking weapon," Osborne said.

Osborne told the jurors they have the power to hold Beason accountable.

"This is Mr. Frye's last and only opportunity for justice...," he said. "You have to send a message, that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated."

Beason's attorney, George Laughrun, told jurors that Frye had targeted the Panthers linebacker for a payday.

"They don't want justice," Laughrun said. "They want money."

Laughrun said Frye obtained an arrest warrant charging Beason with assault. Prosecutors quickly dismissed the charge, saying there wasn't enough evidence.

"He did it to pressure Jon to write a check," Laughrun said.

Laughrun said Beason has been "tarnished by falsehoods" but isn't seeking monetary compensation.

As he rapped up his closing argument, Laughrun held up a $1 bill in front of the jurors.

"This is what he wants," Laughrun said. "He wants to try to rebuild his good name."

Beason told the jury Tuesday he wanted to hit Frye, but that he did not punch him. He said he was the angriest he's been in his life when he heard that Frye was telling people that he saw him snorting cocaine.

Beason admitted that he tried to punch Frye, but was stopped by friends.

"There's no way I hit him," he said.

Beason, 26, a three-time Pro Bowler in his first four seasons, testified that he has never used illegal drugs or failed a drug test in college or the NFL. "I never even smoked a cigarette," he told jurors.

Frye, 30, testified last week that Beason was "enraged" during their confrontation. "He pummeled me down...," he said. "It was real quick. I've never seen anyone move that fast."

Frye told the jurors that he's been threatened and harassed since the confrontation with Beason. He said even his friends have "steered clear" of him.

"I've been ostracized from the city of Charlotte," he said. "It's ruined my reputation."

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