LaMike case: Documents detail what happened

LaMike case: Documents detail what happened »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. -- University of Oregon college students LaMichael James and Heidi Siebenlist had been in "a committed, intimate relationship for a significant period of time," according to court documents.

"During the long period we were boyfriend-girlfriend, we each grew close to one another's families," James wrote in a letter dated March 9, obtained by KVAL News March 12.

But when Siebenlist learned James had a female house guest visiting him from outside the State of Oregon, she went to James' home to talk to the guest.

That was Feb. 15, 2010.

Two days later, police arrested James, and he spent a day and a half in jail before being released with an electronic monitoring bracelet around his ankle -- and the scrutiny of media from Eugene to Portland to ESPN on his case.

On Friday, March 12, James pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of harassment. Four other misdemeanor counts stemming from the incident were dismissed.

"I apologize to Heidi both for the incident and everything she has had to go through since it happened," James wrote in a letter March 9, released along with court documents March 12 after his change of plea and sentencing.

"I accept responsibility for my actions," James wrote. "I am also sorry that she has been treated by some people as though she deserved blame for this. She does not. I ask people to treat her with respect. She has not done anything wrong."

Beyond a basic sketch provided by police in the wake of James' arrest, few details about what happened had emerged. Neither James nor Siebenlist spoke publicly about the case.

However, due to the high-profile of James, who rose to stardom on the football field by setting a new rushing record for a freshman football player and earning Pac-10 Offensive Freshman of the Year honors, rampant speculation about what happened ensued in the aftermath of his arrest.

"Uninformed gossip, blogs and other Internet communications have distored the circumstances, misstated the victim's relationship with the defendant and compounded the harm done to her," the district attorney's office wrote in a sentencing memo. "Some have publicly speculated that the victim reported this incident to the police in retaliation for the defendant's infidelity. This is not born out by the facts.

"In fact, the victim reported reluctantly in response to police questions after the defendant informed her that the police had become involved," the memo says.

So what happened?

"When the victim learned that the defendant had a female house guest from outside Oregon, she went to the defendant's residence to speak with his guest," according to the district attorney's memo. "The house guest was alarmed, refused to let the victim into the residence, and subsequently called the defendant.

James arrived at his apartment and asked Siebenlist to leave and "physically removed the victim from the area immediately in front of his residence door."

While James held on to her arms, Siebenlist grabbed his necklace and told James she wouldn't let go unless he let her go.

"During the ensuing push-and-pull, the defendant's necklace broke and he became angry," according to the DA.

James grabbed Siebenlist by her collar and pushed her against his car. Siebenlist got in James' car and pulled his keys from the ignition. James grabbed Siebenlist to pull her from his car, but she kept his keys and ran from the car.

James, a Texas state champion sprinter in high school, caught up to her and grabbed her waist. The two fell into bark mulch on the ground.

James got his keys back, "ending the physical interaction," the DA wrote. "The parties talked without further physical contact before the defendant drove away."

The memo explains that the Abuse Prevention Act "requires immediate arrest in circumstances such as these."

"Uniform enforcement of that requirement has undoubtedly saved many lives, but it also requires law enforcement to make preliminary charging decisions based on initial reports before a more thorough investigation can be completed," the DA wrote. "Subsequent investgiation and clarification of the facts often result in modification of the criminal charges."

"In this case, dismissal of some of the charges, the admission of guilt by the defendant, and the recommended sentences are all appropriate to the facts," the DA wrote. "The disposition recommended herein is also supported by the victim."

James was ordered to serve 10 days in jail, although due to jail overcrowding, he may be released before serving the entire sentence, District Attorney Alex Gardner said.

He was also ordered to undergo a domestic violence evaluation.

Court documents: Judgment | Sentencing memo