LMJ out of jail, wearing electronic bracelet

LMJ out of jail, wearing electronic bracelet »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. -- After pleading not guilty Wednesday to charges of strangulation, fourth degree assault and menacing, Duck football star LaMichael James was released from the Lane County Jail Thursday afternoon.

Springfield police arrested the Pac-10's freshman rushing record holder sometime early Wednesday morning. He was arraigned Wednesday afternoon and entered a plea of not guilty.

As part of his release agreement James will have to wear an electronic surveillance bracelet, according to Lt. Larry Brown. He will also be staying at a jail-approved house.

"He has to be released to a responsible party," Brown said. "Obviously he can't have any contact with the victim."

Brown could not say who James will be staying with but said a jail official vetted the person, and the house can't be within two miles of where the crime allegedly happened -- his house.

So he can't go home. KVAL News does not know what arrangements have been made for James.

At any given time, the Lane County Jail has 25 to 50 inmates on the electronic surveillance program.

STILL: LaMike leaves, enlarged from KVAL TV video.

Watch KVAL News coverage from Thursday evening:

Watch KVAL News coverage from Wednesday evening:

James, who set a new rushing record for a freshman at the UO, was also named the Pac-10 Offensive Freshman of the Year by the league. He shared team honors for Most Outstanding Player with quarterback Jeremiah Masoli.

Athletic director Mike Bellotti answered questions from reporters Wednesday morning.

Watch Bellotti's interview

Later in the day, in a prepared written statement, Coach Chip Kelly said:

"We are concerned anytime a student-athlete is mentioned in a police report. We do not condone any behavior that doesn't meet University standards or our football program's standards, and we go to great lengths to actively educate our student-athletes regarding appropriate conduct.

"We have the utmost confidence in the local law enforcement authorities to determine the facts in all instances involving our student-athletes, and will reserve further judgment or comment until further information is available."

File footage of James in action for the Ducks

James is the highest profile football player arrested in a school year that opened with controversy after LeGarrette Blount punched a Boise State player. Police did not pursue criminal charges in that incident.

The Ducks have since seen a number of arrests and accusations against players during and after their Rose Bowl season.

In late November, police in Springfield arrested player Terrance Montgomery on suspicion of assault. Investigators from the district attorney's office reviewed the case and determined there was not enough evidence to pursue any charges.

Then in January, Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity member Max Wolfard told OregonLive he had filed a police report accusing two UO football players, quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and wide receiver Garrett Embry, of thefts at the fraternity house.

Both Embry and Montgomery later left the program -- Embry for an unspecified violation of team rules, Montgomery to pursue interests other than football, the athletic department said.

Kicker Mike Bowlin also left the program in the wake of a different incident Jan. 24: a street fight that landed fellow UO football player Rob Beard in the hospital.

In a twist, Eugene police said Tuesday that officers had cited Beard on fourth degree assault, a misdemeanor, in connection with the Jan. 24 fight that put him in the hospital.

"EPD is still investigating this case and can't provide further details except that during the investigation it was found that Beard also committed an assault," spokeswoman Melinda Kletzok said in a press release.

Beard was knocked unconscious and beat up in the fight. At the time, police said he was coming to Bowlin's assistance. Beard was hospitalized after the incident.

Later that week, police arrested two men in connection with the attack that put Beard in the hospital. Officers arrested Kirby Taylor Hawkins and Maurice Dion Peterson III on suspicion of second degree assault.

After arresting Hakins and Peterson, police arrested UO football player Matt Simms on suspicion of assault in what police allege was an attack on someone Simms thought was involved in beating up Beard.

Simms has since left the team. So has Bowlin, who withdrew from the UO as both a student and an athlete.

Beard has since been charged with assault in the incident -- court records indicate the alleged victim is a teenage woman -- and has entered a plea of not guilty.