A former Colorado Mesa University football player will serve 15 months in the Mesa County Jail for breaking a then 20-year-old man’s jaw outside an off-campus party, then asking his friends to cover for him with the police.
William S. Milo, a 23-year-old defensive nose tackle who at one point was voted Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference preseason defensive player of the year, was jailed in October 2016 after the alcohol-fueled incident that would eventually cost the victim nearly $10,000 in medical and dental bills.
Milo was originally charged with several counts including felony second-degree assault and tampering. On Friday, he pleaded guilty to felony counts of menacing and conspiracy to commit tampering, as well as a misdemeanor count of assault.
Senior Deputy State Public Defender Jessica Alexander said Friday that Milo has accepted responsibility for the assault, but that he said the attack was prompted by somebody in the victim’s group calling him a pejorative term.
“Someone called him the ‘n’ word,” Alexander said, noting that Milo doesn’t necessarily think the victim was the person who used the slur. “That is obviously a very hard word to hear and the reaction from Mr. Milo was to punch the alleged victim.”
Alexander said Milo feels ashamed of the incident, and initially tried to hide his arrest from his family members.
“It’s just so out of his character and so out of his family’s character for something like this to happen,” she said.
Milo — who at the time of the assault was academically ineligible to play football — has also been kicked out of school, Alexander said.
The victim told District Judge Lance Timbreza on Friday that nobody in his group used a slur against Milo or provoked him.
Instead, he said, Milo was acting aggressive and intoxicated. When the then 20-year-old saw Milo coming closer to his girlfriend, he approached. That’s when Milo hit him, he said.
“It kind of happened in the blink of an eye,” the victim said. “I wasn’t aware my jaw was broken till I got to the hospital.”
Mesa County prosecutor Bo Zeerip told Judge Timbreza on Friday that the victim asked that Milo have a felony conviction on his record and serve jail time as part of any plea.
“The injury obviously was significant,” Zeerip said. “Who knows what the victim will have to live with long term.”
Timbreza ordered Milo to serve 12 months in the Mesa County Jail for the misdemeanor assault charge, and another three months for the felony counts.
Milo will also be on probation for five years, be required to complete 180 hours of useful public service, and pay for the victim’s medical and dental bills.