Former boxing champ Jermain Taylor ordered to pay damages and legal fees in civil battery case

NLR man sued Taylor last year

Jermain Taylor leaves the Pulaski County Courthouse with members of his counsel after being ordered to six years of a suspended sentence in a trio of felony cases in this May 20, 2016 file photo. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo)

Imprisoned former boxing champion Jermain Taylor has been court-ordered to pay $77,901 to a 48-year-old North Little Rock man who claimed the Olympian beat him up at Taylor's Little Rock home in November 2021.

Corvette Deon Miller sued Taylor in April 2022 in Pulaski County Circuit Court for battery and negligence. The lawsuit was filed two months before Taylor, 44, was convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence charges in June 2022 by a jury that acquitted him of more serious felony charges. He received a one-year jail term, the maximum available to the jury.

However, Taylor was sentenced to three years of prison immediately following the jury verdict by Circuit Judge Leon Johnson who found that the Arkansas Sports Hall of Famer had violated the conditions of a six-year suspended prison sentence the judge had imposed in May 2016 after Taylor had pleaded guilty to nine felony charges, six counts of aggravated assault, two counts of terroristic threatening and single count of second-degree battery.

Taylor has been eligible for parole since February, but the state parole board has denied him early release until at least the end of the year.

Taylor, sued under his full name, Lecester Jermain Taylor, never responded to Miller's civil litigation despite being served with notice. Presiding Judge Chip Welch granted Miller's motion for summary judgment in September. Taylor also did not respond when notified by Miller's attorney Judd Kidd in May that Miller would be seeking damages and legal fees.

Miller's lawsuit states that Taylor had punched him in the head during a November 2021 card game at Taylor's residence the day after Thanksgiving. According to the three-page lawsuit, Taylor and Miller were part of a group playing cards when Taylor "got upset and started accusing others of cheating."

Miller claims Taylor struck him in the head when he tried to leave, injuring him. Miller asked for compensation for his pain and suffering, medical costs and lost wages, plus any future expenses incurred because of the injury. The accusations were never reported to police.

On Monday, Welch ordered Taylor to pay Miller what he had asked for: $24,899 for his medical bills, lost wages, mental anguish, pain and suffering, plus another $53,002 in legal fees and costs.

Taylor has claimed to be destitute for years. He was represented by public defenders during the four years it took to bring his domestic violence case to trial last year.

In his November 2018 application for publicly funded representation, Taylor reported that he had not worked in two years and that his sole income then was a $10,000 check plus a $1,000-per-month rental house in Maumelle worth $290,000. Further, he reported owing $400,000 on his own home and loans, while paying $6,000 monthly for child support for six of his eight children.

The charges in the domestic case were based on accusations by his ex-girlfriend that he had attacked her at his Little Rock home, which is owned by relatives, in an August 2018 jealous rage over a comment she had made to a neighbor. Labiba Sutton told jurors that Taylor slapped her, threw her against a wall, choked her and threatened her life with a hunting knife before abandoning the attack and leaving, giving her a chance to call 911.

Taylor's other convictions stemmed from crimes committed over about 8½ months from late August 2014 to mid-May 2015, beginning with Taylor shooting his cousin, Tyrone DaWayne Hinton, while threatening the life of Hinton's son, Aharon Coley, at Taylor's former home -- a 39-acre estate outside North Little Rock and Maumelle.

That spate of crimes began within weeks of Taylor returning to his former glory as a champion boxer by winning the IBF middleweight title in October 2013 in his first bout since losing his belt following a brain-damaging fight in Germany.

His first wife left him in February 2013 after 12 years together and four children. They divorced in July 2015. Taylor had to forfeit his new middleweight title after a fractured rib suffered during training in January 2015 kept him from defending the title.

That same month, Taylor, a father of eight, was accused of putting a gun to the head of Thelton Pegro Smith and firing the weapon in front of Smith's wife and three children just after Little Rock's 2015 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. parade.

Taylor had gotten angry after one of the Smith children, who was allowed to hold Taylor's championship belt, dropped it.

Four months after that, Taylor, enrolled in an inpatient drug rehabilitation program, punched another patient in May 2015, knocking him unconscious and inflicting facial fractures. Taylor would later confidentially settle lawsuits brought by those victims.

In September 2015, the judge allowed Taylor to move to Florida to undergo an extensive training regime with Pat Burners, the trainer who oversaw his ascension to Olympic medal winner and then to middleweight champion. Al Haymon, then a renowned sports manager, agreed to cover the costs. He spent 10 weeks there in what was billed as preparation for his return to boxing.

Taylor, who acknowledged having struggled with drugs and alcohol, pleaded guilty to the resulting charges in December 2015, with the judge imposing the six-year suspended prison term in May 2016 after his victims declined to testify at sentencing. Taylor married for a second time in August 2016, but the couple separated in May 2017, with their divorce finalized the next year.

He was arrested on felony domestic violence charges in July 2017 by Maumelle police after his then-girlfriend, Ashley Rena Elizabeth White, reported that he bit her arm and face during a middle-of-the-night fight about his "jealousy issues." The charges were dropped in August 2018 when prosecutors reported the woman had broken off contact with them so they could not find her to bring the case to trial.

The first boxer from Arkansas to compete in the Olympics, Taylor won a bronze medal in the light middleweight division in the 2000 games. Taylor,who fought under the nickname Bad Intentions, is the only boxer in history to claim each middleweight title from all four major boxing sanctioning organizations in a single fight.