Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Johnson County District attorney Steve Howe announced that no criminal charges will be filed against Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill or his fiancee Crystal Espinal.
A cloud of suspicion has hung over Hill since March 15, when it was first reported an investigation was being conducted by Overland Park police after they were called to Hill’s home on March 14 due to an alleged incident of battery against an unnamed juvenile.
At that same time, we also learned that police were called to Hill’s home on March 5 about another alleged incident, but prosecutors had declined to file charges at that time.
Reading from a prepared statement, Howe said prosecutors believe a crime occurred.
“We are deeply troubled by this situation and are concerned about the health and welfare of the child in question,” he said. “We believe that a crime has occurred. However, the evidence in this case does not conclusively establish who committed the crime against this child. Criminal cases must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by admissible evidence, not speculation, rumor or hearsay.”
While answering questions from reporters, Howe said that it is not unusual for no charges to be filed in what he called “who done it” cases, because it is often difficult to prove who actually committed a criminal act in a domestic situation. He said prosecutors like himself find that to be a difficult aspect of their jobs.
“A child has been hurt,” he said. “So, yes, as a father of four kids and a prosecutor, it’s frustrating you can’t do anything about it.”
But Howe also said that as prosecutors, they would prefer to let a guilty person go free than wrongly charge or convict an innocent person.
Despite repeated questions seeking additional details from the two reported incidents, Howe refused to offer any additional information, saying only that an investigation is being conducted by the Kansas Department of Children and Families, and since the case involves a minor child, he could provide no other details about what occurred.
While he would not provide any other information about their current circumstances, Howe did say that the victim of the alleged battery — presumed to be Hill and Espinal’s three-year-old son — is currently safe.
The Chiefs issued a comment late Wednesday, via Matt Derrick of Chiefs Digest:
“This afternoon we were informed that Tyreek Hill will not be charged by the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office. Due to the continued investigation by the Department for Children and Families, we will have no further comment at this time.”
Hill issued a statement through his attorneys early Thursday, via Brooke Pryor of The Kansas City Star:
“I love and support my family above anything. My son’s health and happiness is my number one priority. I want to thank the Kansas City Chiefs, my attorneys, my agent and my union for supporting me through this. My focus remains on working hard to be the best person for my family and our community I can be, and the best player to help our team win.”
In addition, this was also included from Hill’s attorneys, per Pryor:
Tyreek has maintained from the inception and throughout the investigation that he was innocent of any crime. Contrary to some media reports, Tyreek cooperated with law enforcement, waived his Fifth Amendment rights, and answered questions from both law enforcement and DCF. He continues to cooperate with authorities. Unfortunately, due to laws related to confidentiality, as much as he would like to, he cannot comment regarding specific allegations.