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Jimmy Wilson’s journey from murder trial to the NFL

Russel Hill Jimmy Wilson AP

Dolphins seventh-round safety Jimmy Wilson was not your average draft pick.  He started college in 2004, but spent three years away from the game after being arrested for the death of his aunt’s boyfriend.

More than two years in jail and two murder trials later, Wilson was acquitted.  He was granted an extra year of eligibility to play football by the NCAA and returned for his final year at Montana in 2010.

The incident which led to Wilson’s time away from the game was in dispute for years.  His aunt said her boyfriend was beating her and urinated on her when she called for help.   Wilson said he arrived and was acting in self-defense during a fight and a gun went off accidentally.  Authorities disagreed.

It didn’t help Wilson’s case that he fled the scene from Montana to California after the incident happened before turning himself in days later.  He couldn’t afford bail and waited in prison for 25 months, according to the New York Times.

“Some things have happened in my life that nobody is ever going to be able to say happened to them,” Wilson told the Times.   (We recommend reading their entire fascinating story on Wilson.)

The Dolphins were comfortable with Wilson once they got to know him.

“[We] did a ton of research on Jimmy,” G.M. Jeff Ireland said via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I talked to the assistant chancellor there [at Montana], I talked to the [athletic director], I talked to the head coach. . . . Talking to some people that were associated with the whole investigation, I felt very comfortable with the decision.”

Your view on the matter may depend on a few factors: 1) Your view on the American judicial system. 2) Whether people deserve a second chance. 3) The team you root for.

We don’t think Wilson’s life should end the moment his aunt’s boyfriend’s life ended.

“I prayed for this day every single night,” Wilson said after getting taken by Miami No. 235 overall on Saturday afternoon.

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21 Responses to “Jimmy Wilson’s journey from murder trial to the NFL”
  1. huskersrock1 says: May 1, 2011 9:50 AM

    “We don’t think Wilson’s life should end the moment his aunt’s boyfriend’s life ended.”

    Of course his life shouldn’t end, however, a high profile spot on a football team? I think I would have passed.

  2. sirsupersouthern says: May 1, 2011 10:00 AM

    How did the Bucs pass on this guy?

  3. diamonddave13 says: May 1, 2011 10:01 AM

    He committed a crime (fleeing the scene), served his penance, thus, he’s given this opportunity. Then again Ryan Mallett smoked a J and Ireland was riding his high horse all over that guy all weekend long….

  4. jw731 says: May 1, 2011 10:03 AM

    Any man that beats and urinates on a woman should be shot…Accident or not…Justifiable homicide as far as i can see….

  5. dolfan34 says: May 1, 2011 10:15 AM

    diamonddave,

    Pretty obvious that other GMs felt the same way about Mallett….passed over every team twice. He’ll look great carrying a clipboard for Brady for two years and be out of the league in four.

  6. coolheir says: May 1, 2011 10:18 AM

    It ain’t like he robbed a liqour store. He defended his aunt from some drunken fool and got a gun pulled on him. I see no crime here.

  7. peanutbutter&jelly says: May 1, 2011 10:38 AM

    it’s unfortunate what happened to this young man but in a way it may be the best thing that happened to him,he had a dream and it seemed as if he would not get to go after it but he now has this chance and i think he will make every second he spends on that field count because he knows how quick it can all go away. of all the players coming out of this draft this one seems to be the one who will truly appreciate the opprotuinity he’s been givin and give his all the dolphins may have found a real treasure here i guess we’ll see come sept. or nov. or whenever the season starts

  8. dvnelson72 says: May 1, 2011 10:45 AM

    Since he was acquitted, I take his side of the story at face value. His mistake was fleeing the scene, and he paid dearly for it.

    I am going to root for the guy. It’s a compelling story.

    Dolphins have a decent CB group with Davis, Smith and Carroll.

    I suspect he’ll be developed as a strong safety based on the limited tape I’ve seen of him. He can lay some wood. If he shows a knack for it, it means that they know Y Bell’s time with the team is winding down.

  9. baronvonmonocle says: May 1, 2011 10:45 AM

    I bet Jeff Ireland didn’t risk asking if his mother is a prostitute.

  10. dennis2488 says: May 1, 2011 10:51 AM

    this is about as much a crime as ryan mallett being drunk in public. they both paid their price and now its done.

  11. ezg1 says: May 1, 2011 11:02 AM

    Appears to be Ideal player for the Ravens!

  12. CKL says: May 1, 2011 11:26 AM

    #
    #
    jw731 says: May 1, 2011 10:03 AM

    Any man that beats and urinates on a woman should be shot…Accident or not…Justifiable homicide as far as i can see….
    ____________________________________
    AMEN.
    Kid may have made some wrong decisions in the heat of the moment but I don’t consider him in the same light as one would some gangbangers shooting each other (and innocent people) up or something even if he did go over there with a gun. His motive was to defend his aunt.
    Based on what I read in the article, I think the kid’s worth a second chance.

  13. CKL says: May 1, 2011 11:29 AM

    Also I hate to say it but maybe this kid realized the cops wouldn’t be able to give this “man” the justice he deserved.

    If a cop had shot that chump even if he caught him in the act, he probably would have lost his career over it.

  14. bingocostello says: May 1, 2011 12:26 PM

    Oh another Democrat………

  15. steelybills says: May 1, 2011 12:33 PM

    Ok fine, he deserves a second chance legally…Now I just hate him for being a Dolphin!

  16. dolphins4 says: May 1, 2011 3:14 PM

    I’m glad the Dolphins drafted him .Now if they could just get a good quarterback.

  17. krow101 says: May 1, 2011 3:34 PM

    The Eagles were very interested in him. But once he was aquitted they moved on.

  18. sttbm says: May 1, 2011 4:31 PM

    Within a month or two of being released from prison and being granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA and returning to football practice with Montana, Wilson was ACCUSED of biting a woman severely during sex. He was acquitted of that charge as well.

    He has been constantly in trouble since he entered college—its why he ended up playing for Montana, why he was in prison, and why he very nearly ended up back less than six months after his release.

    And dont you dare delete this comment like you did my last one.

    Y’all think he’s gonna keep his nose clean in the pros?

  19. agelardi says: May 2, 2011 7:58 AM

    Another quality character signed by the Fins. Luckly he’s a rookie who won’t have any influence on the other players.

  20. cschimming says: May 2, 2011 5:35 PM

    sttbm – Please get your story straight before posting about an incident you know nothing about.

  21. kurdonkar says: May 4, 2011 2:10 AM

    @baronvonmonocle, you’re killing me man!!

    I’m rooting for this kid…

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