*San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald will not be charged with domestic abuse, the Santa Clara District Attorney’s office announced Monday, saying there was too little evidence to move the case forward.
“Conflicting versions of the event, a lack of verifiable eyewitnesses and a significant lack of cooperation from Jane Doe; we cannot prove a crime occurred,” said Lindsay Walsh, Santa Clara Deputy District Attorney in charge of the case. “In this particular case, there were particular pieces of information missing.”
McDonald was arrested on Aug. 31 on felony domestic violence charges after an incident that occurred at his San Jose home. A police report noted “visible injuries” to an alleged victim, who was not identified by police but is believed to be McDonald’s fiancée. McDonald posted $25,000 bail and was released from police custody several hours after the arrest.
Walsh said McDonald was cooperative with officers on the night of the incident and gave a follow-up interview later.
“He was cooperative,” she said. “He spoke to responding officers that night and gave a recorded statement. He also gave a follow-up interview with San Jose Police detectives. He allowed them to come into his home.”
The DA’s office said Monday for the first time that McDonald’s fiancée made a 911 call from the house at 2:41 a.m., reports ESPN.com.
“Hello. I’d like to press for a domestic violence,” she said, according to a memo released by the DA’s office. “My fiancé, … he’s trying to pull me out of the house … he’s drunk … I think he’s calling the cops, he, he’s trying to get me out.”
McDonald also made a 911 call, two minutes before his fiancee’s, in which he said he needed to get “a female” out of his house, according to the DA’s office.
The DA’s office cited “a significant lack of cooperation by Jane Doe” as a contributing factor in the decision. After the night in question, she declined to speak with investigators.
According to Walsh, McDonald’s fiancée “never used the words ‘choking,’ ‘grabbing,’ ‘punching'” — anything of that nature” during her interview with police. When police attempted to interview her two days later and take additional photographs, she refused.
Walsh said McDonald’s fiancée said McDonald struck her and was restraining her. However, the investigation revealed that McDonald’s fiancée hit him first.
“Both Jane Doe and McDonald agree that Jane Doe struck first,” according to the memo. “Jane Doe said it was a single push. McDonald said Jane Doe hit him multiple times with a closed first. … (McDonald had no visible injuries or complaints of pain.) McDonald grabbed Jane Doe’s arms to restrain her, resulting in visible injury.”
“I am confident in our decision,” Walsh said. “After a complete and thorough investigation, we and the San Jose Police Department interviewed many witnesses, we looked at recorded interviews, we heard the 911 call. There were key pieces of evidence that were missing. We really don’t know what happened between the two parties.”
The incident took place at a party for McDonald’s 30th birthday that was attended by several 49ers players, including tight end Vernon Davis, who told reporters he didn’t see anything.
McDonald has spent his entire eight-year NFL career with the 49ers. He was drafted in the third round in 2007 after being part of a BCS championship team at Florida.