“The standard of reasonable doubt is the highest standard that we have in our justice system, as it should be,” Hamilton County judge Gwen Bender said before issuing her ruling. “After a careful review of all of the evidence presented at trial, including the stipulations and the testimony presented today, I cannot say the city sustained its burden.”
The state alleged Mixon pulled a gun on a woman after a road rage incident and said he should shoot her in the face, but Bender said city prosecutors failed to present enough evidence to prove the aggravated menacing charge.
The alleged incident took place Jan. 21 — the day before Cincinnati faced the Buffalo Bills in the AFC divisional playoffs.
Mixon’s defense attorneys argued that the woman was enraged and was not under the belief that Mixon would cause serious harm, which is the basis of aggravated menacing under Ohio law.
Attorney Merlyn Shiverdecker said the group was happy with Bender’s decision, but Mixon did not make any statements after the verdict and his counsel declined interview requests.
“The organization is pleased that this matter is now behind everyone,” the Bengals said in a statement, “and we look forward to an exciting season with Joe being an important part of the football team.”
Mixon has spent his entire six-year career with Cincinnati since the team drafted him in the second round in 2017. He agreed to a restructured contract in July that has a cash value of $5.8 million — a $3 million decrease from his cash value in 2022.
In 2022, Mixon made 14 starts and had 1,255 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns. He is fifth in franchise history in career rushing and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2021.
Mixon also is facing a lawsuit regarding the shooting of his teenage neighbor in March that resulted in felony assault charges against Lamonte Brewer, the boyfriend of Mixon’s sister.
Court documents suggest the teenager was playing a game involving toy guns, and the boy was struck in the foot by a bullet fired from Mixon’s backyard, according to Hamilton County officials. Mixon was never considered a suspect, but the lawsuit alleges Mixon supplied the bullets and Zastava M92 gun that was matched to the weapon used in the shooting.
In 2014, while a student at Oklahoma, he entered a plea deal after being accused of punching a woman and was suspended from football activities for one year.