Not guilty plea entered for ex-Cardinal accused of assault

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Jonathan Dwyer leaves the 4th Avenue Jail on Sept. 18. (Source: CBS 5 News) Jonathan Dwyer leaves the 4th Avenue Jail on Sept. 18. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Jonathan Dwyer arrived for booking at the 4th Avenue Jail. (Source: CBS 5 News) Jonathan Dwyer arrived for booking at the 4th Avenue Jail. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Jonathan Dwyer's booking photo (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Jonathan Dwyer's booking photo (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
Jonathan Dwyer. (Source: AP) Jonathan Dwyer. (Source: AP)

A not guilty plea has been entered for Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer, who's accused of assaulting his wife during arguments at their apartment.

Dwyer previously pleaded not guilty on Oct. 6 to felony aggravated assault and eight misdemeanors charges.

The case went back to a grand jury for reconsideration after a judge ruled the prosecution didn't accurately describe several matters related to the victim's injuries.

Dwyer was indicted again on the same charges and he was arraigned a second time Monday in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Dwyer was formally charged after allegedly head-butting and fracturing his wife's nose, striking her with a closed fist and hitting his toddler son with a thrown shoe during two domestic violence incidents during the summer.

The Cardinals on Sept. 18 announced Dwyer had been placed on the reserve/non-football illness list.

A nine-count grand jury indictment handed up in September charged Dwyer with felony aggravated assault/domestic violence and eight misdemeanors, including disorderly conduct, assault and criminal damage.  

The accusations stemmed from Dwyer's wife, whose name was not released, and were detailed in a police officer's probable cause statement obtained after Dwyer's arrest on Sept. 17 in Tempe. Dwyer was originally arrested on two felony charges of aggravated assault, and misdemeanor counts of criminal damage and preventing someone from calling 911.

The allegations stem from two alleged incidents involving his wife and 1 1/2-year-old son at his southeast Phoenix home at 8 a.m. on July 21 and 4 p.m. on July 22, before the NFL Cardinals began training camp.

She called and filed a report with police on Sept. 11 on the alleged attacks.

On July 21, Phoenix police were called to the home and were met at the door by the victim who denied there was anyone else in the home.

She told police she was in an argument with a family member over the phone and the officers left, only to later learn Dwyer was hiding in a bathroom at the time, Phoenix police Sgt. Trent Crump said.

She later told police the argument between her and Dwyer turned physical when he tried to kiss her and undress her. She said she told him several times to stop, and when he continued she bit him on the lip.

She said Dwyer then head-butted her in the face, and her medical records obtained by police revealed she had a nasal bone fracture as a result of the head butt. Police arrived after a witness called to report the disturbance.

She later told police that she didn't reveal Dwyer was in the home because he had threatened to kill himself in front of her and their child if she told them of the assault.

After police left, she said she fled the residence with her son, only to later return after Dwyer texted a photo of a knife with the message he didn't want to live anymore.

On July 22, she said Dwyer punched her on the left side of her face with a closed fist and began punching the walls of the residence.

She said he then picked up a shoe and threw it, hitting their son in the stomach.

She said she tried to call 911, but Dwyer grabbed the cell phone and threw it from the second floor of their residence to keep her from calling police.

As Dwyer fled the residence, witnesses reported seeing him throw the cell phone and hearing the victim yell, "He f****** hit me. I'm calling the police."

Witnesses told police they also saw Dwyer's wife holding her face and her son as she screamed she was calling police. They also reported seeing swelling and discoloration on the left side of her face, police said.

Their son was not harmed in either incident, police said.

In the wake of the alleged attacks, Dwyer's wife packed up some belongings with the help of a friend and left the state with their child, Crump said. She remains out of the state, Crump said.

"Where this becomes domestic violence, they had resided together and two of them had a child in common," Crump said. 

On Wednesday, detectives from the Phoenix Police Department's South Mountain precinct took Dwyer into custody at the Cardinals training facility in Tempe. 

Crump said Dwyer admitted to the incidents but denied any physical assaults.

As he was escorted into the Maricopa County Jail, Dwyer kept his head up and said nothing. He wore a black T-shirt with white lettering that read "propaganda obey."

Dwyer was booked one count of aggravate assault causing a fracture, one count aggravated assault involving a minor, two counts of criminal damage, one count of preventing the use of a phone in an emergency and assault.

On Sept. 17, Dwyer spent the night in jail after he was arraigned and was released about 5 a.m. the next morning on $25,000 bond.

He mumbled something to reporters, and when asked if he would play football again, he said, "I will." He then got into a taxi and was driven away.

Dwyer and his wife have been married two years this month. He's originally from Georgia and went to college at Georgia Tech.

The Arizona Cardinals released the following statement in the wake of Dwyer's arrest:

"We became aware of these allegations this afternoon when notified by Phoenix police and are cooperating fully.

"Given the serious nature of the allegations we have taken the immediate step to deactivate Jonathan from all team activities.

"We will continue to closely monitor this as it develops and evaluate additional information as it becomes available."

On Sept. 18, the Cardinals announced they re-signed running back Jalen Parmele to take the place of Dwyer.

Dwyer's arrest came as the NFL became embroiled in several off-field incidents. Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was indicted in suburban Houston for felony child abuse after allegedly swatting his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch.

And former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has appealed his indefinite suspension by the league for an alleged domestic violence incident involving his then-fiancee at an Atlantic City casino in February.

This is the second domestic violence case involving a Cardinals player. Inside linebacker Daryl Washington pleaded guilty to assaulting his ex-girlfriend and is serving a year of supervised probation. Washington hasn't been penalized by the NFL for the offense but is suspended for this season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

[Related: Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington suspended for 1 year]

According to the Arizona Cardinals' website, Dwyer originally entered the NFL as a sixth-round pick (188th overall) of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2010 NFL Draft.

He signed a one-year contract with the Cardinals as an unrestricted free agent on March 12, 2014. 

Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News for updates on this developing story.

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Copyright 2015 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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