Former NFL Star May Spend Life in Prison

Kellen Winslow Jr. accused of rape and kidnapping
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2018 9:00 AM CDT
Former NFL Star May Spend Life in Prison
A 2013 file photo of Kellen Winslow, when he played for the Jets.   (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

Kellen Winslow Jr. is a former NFL Pro Bowl player who was once the highest-paid tight end in the league. He's also the son of a Hall of Famer. But prosecutors say Winslow is something else now: a kidnapper, rapist, and burglar. The 34-year-old has been jailed in Vista, Calif., and faces life in prison if convicted, reports the AP. Authorities accuse him of a crime spree that includes the kidnapping and rape of a 54-year-old homeless woman in March and a 59-year-old homeless woman in May. He is also accused of breaking into at least two homes and of exposing himself in a public place. Winslow played 10 seasons in the NFL, which prompts USA Today to float the possibility that CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, could play a role in his defense.

One big problem with that is CTE can currently be diagnosed only after death, but a defense attorney says the symptoms associated with the condition—such as depression and dementia—could be raised. "The nature of the facts around this case raise huge red flags," says San Diego lawyer M. Dod Ghassemkhani. "There could be an underlying mental illness that has been untreated." It's possible such a defense could at least lessen the punishment that Winslow receives if convicted. He played in the league from 2004-13 with Cleveland, Tampa Bay, New England, and the New York Jets. (The question of CTE hovers over the case of another former NFL player who ended up in prison.)

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