Former mixed martial arts fighter Jason “Mayhem” Miller was acquitted Wednesday of domestic violence charges.
Miller, 36, struggled to hold back his emotions as a courtroom clerk announced that jurors, after one hour of deliberating, cleared him of two felony counts of domestic battery with corporal injury and a misdemeanor charge of violating a protection order.
Last week, Orange County Superior Court Judge Steven Bromberg dismissed a stalking charge against Miller.
“Thanks you, guys, for having this experience with me,” Miller told jurors as they filed out of the courtroom.
“It was an experience,” one panelist replied, chuckling.
A buoyant Miller grabbed the hand of the prosecutor, Senior Deputy District Attorney Mark Geller, and said, “You’re a really good lawyer. I heard yu busted up the gangs. That’s awesome.”
Geller declined comment after the verdicts.
Miller still faces unrelated charges related to multiple clashes with police, but his attorney, Cameron Talley, said he hoped to strike a plea bargain with prosecutors on those cases.
Several jurors said the alleged victim in the just-concluded case did not come across as believable and that Miller’s side of the story seemed credible. They also doubted how a professional fighter could avoid leaving visible bruises and cuts on a woman he had beaten and trained in the martial arts.
“It was a credibility factor. She couldn’t quite remember everything,” said juror Kevin Faudoa, adding, “If he really wanted to do damage, he could have. He told his side and he didn’t have anything to hide.”
Miller told reporters, “I feel tremendous. Justice was served. The system worked.”
He said he was excited that “I get to clear the Mayhem Miller name” and hopes to again pursue jobs in sports broadcasting that he lost after the domestic violence charges were filed.
“It’s a natural fit for me,” he told City News Service of sports commentary.
Geller alleged Miller beat up his then-girlfriend, Anna Stabile, on two occasions. The two had a “normal dating relationship” for about a year until “things got ugly,” the prosecutor told jurors at the outset of the trial.
Miller’s attorney, Cameron Talley, however, portrayed Stabile as an often hostile, jealous girlfriend, and the defendant testified that she attacked him on multiple occasions and that he struggled to avoid hurting her.
He recalled one fight in which he said Stabile flung a bottle at him. The bottle missed its mark, but “I thought it was going to break my TV when she winged it at me,” Miller said. “It messed up the drywall a little bit.”
On another occasion, a dispute led Stabile to jump on the former champion fighter’s back, he testified. He said that conflict came “sometime in between that knife thing” when Stabile allegedly threatened to take her own life but then lunged at him.
“She chased me out the back door, ripped off my shirt and jumped on my back and choked me,” Miller testified.
Asked how a much-smaller woman could attack a professional fighter, Miller responded, “I didn’t want to fight her… I just figured I was better off getting out of the situation than engage with a physical thing with her.”
“I taught her how to do that choke,” he said, but Stabile “got sloppy with her legs” as she tried to take him down and “slipped off,” bumping her head on concrete, the fighter testified.
“I asked her did she want to go to the hospital because it was a good fall,” he said. “I was shocked that she took it to that level.”
Miller said Stabile, who declined to go to a hospital, was “strong for a girl,” and he trained her because “I could see her doing big things.”
Another time, Miller “said something snarky” and walked away from Stabile, prompting her to “hit me in the back of the head.”
Miller, who came to court sporting a mohawk haircut punctuated with a purple streak of dye, said he had paid an attorney to help keep Stabile from losing a custody battle for her son and was “shocked” when she accused him of beating her.
Miller was a well-regarded championship MMA fighter who battled Georges St.-Pierre, considered one of the all-time greats, to a near standstill and defeated another great, Robbie Lawler. He was kicked out of the MMA following the domestic violence charges and lost a gig as a commentator for Fox, Talley said.
Miller, who lives in Mission Viejo, has now turned to training and managing other fighters, his lawyer said.
–City News Service
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