Justin Bannan found guilty - used CTE as part of defense

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A retired NFL player, a bizarre shooting and claims of CTE
Updated 7:52 AM EDT Apr. 28, 2021

Justin Bannan said he was hiding from the Russian mafia when he shot a woman in Colorado in 2019. Now he says head trauma from football is to blame.

Former NFL defensive lineman Justin Bannan found guilty of attempted murder in 2019 shooting
Published 12:06 AM ET Sep. 11, 2021

Former NFL defensive lineman Justin Bannan was found guilty Friday of attempted murder and first-degree assault for shooting a woman in a bizarre incident in 2019.

Bannan, 42, told police he was hiding from the Russian mafia when he entered acupuncturist Ashley Marie's treatment room in Boulder, Colorado, then shot her when she opened the door. According to police records, he was carrying a rolled-up $20 bill containing traces of cocaine at the time of his arrest.

Bannan pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, citing – among other things – the effects of concussions and other head injuries from his career in the NFL, during which he played for five teams, including the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos.

Prosecutors argued that Bannan was voluntarily intoxicated at the time of the shooting but not insane.

A Boulder County jury returned the verdict Friday night after an eight-day trial and roughly eight hours of deliberation. Bannan declined to testify in his defense.

The 12-year NFL veteran was found guilty on four counts, the most serious of which – attempted murder – carries a range of between 16 and 48 years in state prison. He was taken into custody after the verdict was read. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 5.

Bannan's attorney, Harvey Steinberg, did not immediately reply to an email late Friday, shortly after the verdict was announced.

In his closing remarks Friday morning, Steinberg likened his client to a gladiator and argued that his brain is "defective" as a result of his time playing football.
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