Hearings in Felony Cases Against 49ers Players Set for Friday

By Bay City News
|  Friday, Apr 11, 2014  |  Updated 3:55 AM PDT
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File photo of San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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Hearings on unrelated felony criminal cases against San Francisco 49ers players Aldon Smith and Christopher Culliver are set to take place Friday in Santa Clara County Superior Court, prosecutors said.

49ers star linebacker Aldon Smith, 25, has hearings on two separate criminal cases, including three felony counts of possessing an illegal assault weapon and a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of alcohol, according to Deputy District Attorney Brian Buckelew.

The hearings on both of Smith's cases are set for 9 a.m. in Department 38 at the Hall of Justice at 190 W. Hedding St. in San Jose. He is not required to appear, Buckelew said.

The hearing on the illegal weapon case is about setting a date for a preliminary hearing. Smith appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to the allegations on Nov. 12.

The district attorney's office filed the three felony charges against Smith on Oct. 9, after the office's firearms unit examined five rifles recovered by sheriff's deputies from Smith's rented home outside San Jose in 2012. Deputies searched the home after a raucous late-night party where two people were shot and wounded and Smith was stabbed in the leg.

During the crowded party, which was attended by Culliver and former 49ers player Delanie Walker, Smith fired a .45 caliber handgun into the air to disburse partygoers before he was stabbed.

The man prosecutors alleged stabbed Smith, Steven Raymond Burba, a reputed gang member, was later arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Authorities have not arrested a suspect in the shootings of the two victims at the party.

When sheriff's deputies arrived at Smith's home to investigate, they found five rifles in his bedroom, including three assault weapons, an Armalite AR-10T and two Bushmaster brand rifles, which Smith bought legally in Arizona in 2011 but are illegal to possess in California, prosecutors said.

Smith's separate DUI case is on the court calendar for a pretrial conference. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI and marijuana possession on Sept. 20, after San Jose police said he crashed his car into a tree at about 7 a.m. on Bentley Ridge Drive in San Jose.

Culliver, 25, a 49ers cornerback, was arrested on March 28 for allegedly fleeing after a hit-and-run collision with a bicyclist,
deliberately crashing his car into a person who witnessed the bicycle collision and possessing brass knuckles, an illegal weapon, according to San Jose police.

The bicycle rider was injured but not seriously and did not go to the hospital, according to Deputy District Attorney Jarin Shipp.

San Jose police were called at 10:21 a.m. that morning about a report of a bicycle collision and the driver of a white Ford Mustang - Culliver's car -- driving recklessly near Tully Road and South Seventh Street.

Witnesses to the bicycle crash drove their cars after the fleeing Mustang to an area near the intersection of Mekler Drive and Senter Road, where they boxed in the Mustang until police arrived.

Culliver had allegedly rammed his car into a witness' vehicle. Police later found the brass knuckles inside Culliver's Mustang.

He was originally arrested on suspicion of two felony counts of hit-and-run and two misdemeanor counts of hit-and-run, but prosecutors opted to charge him with misdemeanor counts instead.

The felony possession of brass knuckles and two misdemeanor hit-and-run charges have already been filed and the hearing Friday will be a presentation of the charges against him, Shipp said.

Culliver does not have to appear, he said.

Culliver's arraignment hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in Department 23 at the Hall of Justice.

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