Former mixed martial arts fighter Jason “Mayhem” Miller “begrudgingly” pleaded guilty Wednesday to multiple crimes in several conflicts with law enforcement in Orange County in a deal that means he won’t have to spend any more time behind bars if he clears three years of probation.
Otherwise, the way the plea deal from Orange County Superior Court Judge Robert Fitzgerald was structured, Miller could face up to 21 years in prison if he runs afoul of the law again.
“I begrudgingly pleaded guilty but that’s just the way the system works and I respect the system, and I respect the system more than I did at the beginning of this giant saga,” Miller told reporters after the hearing.
The 36-year-old Mission Viejo man said prosecutors “stacked charges” against him in a way that “coerces you into pleading guilty.”
Miller, however, also acknowledged, “You can’t beat up the police with no consequences.”
Miller was placed on three years of formal probation, and if he commits a serious crime during that time he exposes himself to up to 21 years in prison, said Senior Deputy District Attorney Mark Geller, who objected to the plea deal.
“There were too many incidents of assaultive conduct on police officers,” Geller told reporters. “I respect Judge Fitzgerald, but if it’s up to me this is a state prison case.”
Miller said probation is “akin to being in an invisible jail,” but that the process will inspire him to behave.
“I’m going to fly right,” he said.
Miller said he went into a tailspin when he was accused of domestic violence by an ex-girlfriend. He said shortly after that he lost his job as an analyst on Fox and couldn’t get any more fights.
“My entire life turned into a crisis,” Miller said.
He said he also noticed the police, who had been friendly to him before, suddenly viewed him suspiciously. He said he now coaches some police officers and it’s a “running joke” with them about his conflicts with law enforcement in the past.
“I respect them,” Miller said of police officers.
“They have a job to do,” he added. “But I think a lot of them are cowboys out there looking to make their mark on Mayhem.”
Fitzgerald sentenced Miller to 100 days in jail, but since the fighter had 50 days of credit in jail so far in his cases he will not have to serve any more time behind bars.
Miller was acquitted Feb. 1 of beating up the former girlfriend, but the other charges involving conflicts with law enforcement were set aside for a separate trial.
In one of his conflicts, Miller was “live-tweeting” the incident as sheriff’s deputies were trying to serve him with an arrest warrant at his home.
His most recent arrest came in July of last year during a disturbance at the Saddle Ranch Chop House in the Triangle Square shopping center in Costa Mesa. Police said Miller was “heavily intoxicated” and got into an argument with two women, one of whom slapped him, prompting Miller to grab her leg.
A security guard handcuffed Miller until police arrived.
In January of last year, Miller spray painted graffiti on a wall of a tattoo parlor in Lake Forest, prosecutors said. That same month he blew out a pair of speakers by cranking up the volume in the same tattoo parlor, which has since closed, prosecutors said.
He got into a struggle with sheriff’s deputies at his home in October 2015 when he hurled a ceramic tile at the deputies and threatened them with a large fire extinguisher and metal pole. He was subdued by a Taser.
In March 2015, he kicked a police officer and spit at another cop called to the White House Restaurant in Laguna Beach, prosecutors said.
Miller got into a four-hour standoff with sheriff’s deputies in October 2014 when he penned a flurry of Twitter posts as it was happening.
In August 2012, he was charged with breaking at least one picture frame and damaging a propane tank and other items while spray-painting inside Mission Hills Church in an incident in which the church’s pastor told authorities he found the fighter nearly nude.
Miller pleaded guilty to seven counts Wednesday, most of which were misdemeanors. However, Geller said he now has two strikes against him. Miller pleaded guilty to felony resisting arrest by force of violence, assault on a cop with a dangerous or deadly weapon and exhibiting a dangerous weapon to resist arrest, Geller said.
—City News Service