Justin Bannan, 41, was convicted of attempted murder and first-degree assault at his arraignment hearing on Thursday in Boulder, Colorado
Former NFL lineman Justin Bannan has been convicted of attempted murder and first-degree assault after shooting an acupuncturist in Colorado in 2019.
The former Denver Broncos player, 41, was found guilty of the October 2019 shooting by a jury on Friday, after they spent eight hours deliberating on his fate.
Bannon told police he was being hunted by the Russian Mafia when he shot Ashley Marie in the shoulder when she opened up her acupuncture room on October 16, 2019. He was a partial-owner of the building which housed Marie’s salon, and knew her as a passing acquaintance.
He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity at his hearing in Boulder, Colorado. But jurors agreed with prosecutors claims that Bannan was not mentally-ill at the time of the shooting, and that he was only behaving erratically because he was high on drugs, with investigators believing he’d used cocaine shortly beforehand.
Bannon, a 12 year NFL veteran, was found guilty of four crimes, including attempted murder, which carries a sentence of between 16 and 48 years in prison. He was taken into custody shortly after being convicted on Friday, and will be sentenced on November 5.
Bannan’s defense team is claiming he suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE – brain damage typically found in those with a history of concussions – which he says he developed during his football career.
He told police in his arrest affidavit that he suffers from hydrocephalus, which can cause loss of reasoning skills among other issues, according to Fox 31.
He shot Ashley Marie, an acupuncturist, in the shoulder in October 2019 and allegedly told police he was being hunted by the Russian Mafia. His defense team has claimed insanity from brain damage from his football career that could require surgery, and the judge has ordered a mental health evaluation
Bannan’s lawyer Harvey Steinberg told the judge his client might need brain surgery. It is unknown why.
He also likened his client to a ‘gladiator’ who’d been damaged by his footballing career, telling jurors in his closing statement: ‘In Roman times, people would come cheer the gladiators. And they were great.
‘And then when they were done with them, as you know historically, they fed them to the lions.’
His victim Ashely Marie (pictured) has filed a civil lawsuit against him for pain and suffering, which he has filed a motion to delay until his criminal case is resolved. Her lawyer plans to file a countersuit. If delayed, her case could take years before going to court
Bannan chose not to testify at the eight-day trial.
He was also convicted of charges of first-degree assault and first-degree burglary, according to Fox 31.
Bannan’s victim Marie is also suing him in civil court for pain and suffering, which Bannan has filed a motion to delay until his criminal case has been resolved.
Marie’s lawyer Marc Harden plans to file a countersuit to have the case proceed now.
‘We think of this as a revictimization to be told to potentially wait a very, very, very long time to get this behind you,’ Harden told Fox 31.
Bannan spent 12 seasons with the NFL and is claiming his suffers brain damage from previous concussions. He is due back in criminal court on November 5
Marie agreed, stating: ‘I feel like it’s unfair and unacceptable for Mr. Bannan to delay taking responsibility for his action.’
If the judge grants the delay, her case could be pushed back years.
‘It’s frustrating for Ashley,’ Harden said, ‘It could be many, many years before the criminal case is fully resolved and frankly, civil cases take a long time anyway.’