SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) – Former mixed martial arts fighter Jason "Mayhem" Miller was acquitted Wednesday of domestic violence charges against his ex-girlfriend.
Miller, 36, struggled to hold back his emotions as a courtroom clerk announced that jurors, after one hour of deliberating, cleared him of two felony counts of domestic battery with corporal injury and a misdemeanor charge of violating a protection order.
Last week, Orange County Superior Court Judge Steven Bromberg dismissed a stalking charge against Miller.
A buoyant Miller grabbed the hand of the prosecutor, Senior Deputy District Attorney Mark Geller, and said, "You're a really good lawyer. I heard you busted up the gangs. That's awesome."
Geller declined comment after the verdicts.
Miller still faces unrelated charges related to multiple clashes with police, but his attorney, Cameron Talley, said he hoped to strike a plea bargain with prosecutors on those cases.
Several jurors said the alleged victim in the just-concluded case did not come across as believable and that Miller's side of the story seemed credible. They also doubted how a professional fighter could avoid leaving visible bruises and cuts on a woman he had beaten and trained in the martial arts.
"It was a credibility factor. She couldn't quite remember everything," said juror Kevin Faudoa, adding, "If he really wanted to do damage, he could have. He told his side and he didn't have anything to hide."
Miller told reporters, "I feel tremendous. Justice was served. The system worked."
Geller alleged Miller beat up his then-girlfriend, Anna Stabile, on two occasions. The two had a "normal dating relationship" for about a year until "things got ugly," the prosecutor told jurors at the outset of the trial.
Miller's attorney, Cameron Talley, however, portrayed Stabile as an often hostile, jealous girlfriend, and the defendant testified that she attacked him on multiple occasions and that he struggled to avoid hurting her.
Miller was a well-regarded championship MMA fighter who battled Georges St.-Pierre, considered one of the all-time greats, to a near standstill and defeated another great, Robbie Lawler. He was kicked out of the MMA following the domestic violence charges and lost a gig as a commentator for Fox, Talley said.
Miller, who lives in Mission Viejo, has now turned to training and managing other fighters, his lawyer said.
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