VIDEO: Jermain Taylor says he 'made a lot of mistakes,' gets suspended sentence instead of prison

Jermain Taylor, left, walks into court Friday morning alongside attorney Jimmy Morris.
Jermain Taylor, left, walks into court Friday morning alongside attorney Jimmy Morris.

Boxer Jermain Taylor received a suspended sentence in a trio of felony cases the former middleweight champ pleaded guilty to last year, meaning he will not have to serve any time in prison.

The judge sentenced Taylor to 6 years in prison on each felony count and one year on a marijuana charge, but then suspended the sentence. He said Taylor will be allowed to remain free if he stays out of trouble.

"I made a lot of mistakes, I just want to apologize to my state, to my kids and my cousin and my family," Taylor told Pulaski County Circuit Judge Leon Johnson before being sentenced. "I've made some mistakes but I'm trying to come back."

Johnson said Taylor's fame did not impact his decision, but rather testimony from trainers, managers and others on his team who said the boxer had "grown-up" after a stint in jail.

Taylor's suspended sentence will last six years in total because the sentences on each count will run concurrently. He will have to submit to drug screening, Johnson said.

The judge also ordered Taylor to do 120 hours of community service and pay a $2,000 fine plus court costs.

Taylor pleaded guilty in three separate cases where he was accused of shooting his cousin, firing a gun in front of a family at a Little Rock parade and punching a fellow patient at a rehabilitation clinic.

Before Taylor and prosecutors reached a plea agreement to lessen several charges last year, Johnson allowed Taylor to travel to Florida to train under constant supervision.

During the hearing Friday, Pulaski County Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Johnson asked for a sentence of 10 years in prison or a "lengthy suspended sentence" if the judge decided against prison.

No victims of the crime spoke at the sentencing hearing, but several were in the courtroom.

Johnson, the prosecutor, said they each had different reasons for not offering testimony.

Three lawsuits have been filed by victims against Taylor, who is broke, his attorneys said.

Multiple witnesses spoke on Taylor's behalf, describing how Taylor became addicted to drugs and alcohol, while ignoring their attempts to help get the boxer's life and career back on track.

Taylor's longtime trainer Pat Burns said Taylor has not failed a drug test in eight months of training in Ocala, Fla. The boxer is in "tremendous condition," at 172 pounds, Burns said, and plans to fight again as soon as possible.

Check back for updates and read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full coverage.

Jermain Taylor through the years

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