Differing versions of fight emerge as Hokies RB Michael Holmes is released from jail on secured bond
CHRISTIANSBURG — Virginia Tech running back Michael Holmes was released from Montgomery County jail late Tuesday morning after a bond hearing in which differing details emerged from the downtown Blacksburg fight that led to his arrest Sunday.
Judge Randal Duncan set a $2,500 secured bond for Holmes, who had been held for more than two days after being charged with malicious wounding and simple assault. Holmes was bonded out just before noon, greeted by his family.
Holmes, 19, whose only comment was that he was eager to have a good meal, is to have no contact with the victims and is not allowed to leave the state.
“I know that my son is not a violent person.,” Holmes’ mother, Tonya Brandon, said. “So I know that he is innocent.”
Differing stories emerged during a bond hearing in court Tuesday about the incident that has resulted in three arrests, including Ciara Simms, 20 of Blacksburg, and Kierra Barnes, 20 of Radford, on charges of assault and battery.
Holmes’ attorney Jimmy Turk argued that Holmes acted in self-defense after Simms, who his Holmes’ ex-girlfriend and a sprinter at Virginia Tech, and Barnes attacked Holmes’ current girlfriend, Karoline Seekford, by jumping her from behind and pushing her into a trash bin in a downtown parking lot.
“They followed him [all night],” Brandon said. “They stalked him the whole time. They went from party to party and Michael would say like, ‘Let’s leave.’ … Every time they would leave, they would follow them like they were plotting it.”
Turk said Holmes tried to break up the fight, only getting physical after being hit by Barnes’ cousin, Antoine, who entered the altercation. Holmes’ malicious wounding charge stems from his fight with Antoine Barnes.
“He was protecting his girlfriend,” Brandon said. “She got jumped. He was just pulling them off of her. Out of the kindness of his heart, he’s not going to sit there and let his girlfriend get beat up.”
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Andrew Stephens presented proffers from Simms, Kierra Barnes and Antoine Barnes telling a different story.
Simms said Holmes dragged her by the hair in the parking lot during the altercation. She said she was afraid of Holmes and was adamant that bond be denied.
Kierra Barnes said Holmes punched her in the face, a claim Turk said his client “absolutely” denies. She was treated for a swollen eye at the scene and said she has a fractured nose.
Antoine Barnes said Holmes threw him to the ground before kicking and punching him in the face. Officers who responded said Barnes was bleeding from the face and was taken to the hospital for the treatment of facial lacerations. He was released that night. He claims to have a fractured cheek bone, sore ribs and pain in his jawbone.
Turk argued for Holmes to receive bond, saying nobody was in the hospital overnight and the victims’ claims of facial fractures are only a possibility at this point. He also said that Holmes had never been in trouble before and had no reason to leave the state.
Holmes has been placed on an indefinite suspension from the football team until the felony charge is resolved or dropped, per university policy.
Holmes has a preliminary hearing in Montgomery County District Court on June 13 at 2 p.m. Turk said he’d like to have the case settled as “quick as he possibly can.”
“He’s a straight-A student,” Brandon said. “I’m a single mother. And I have raised my children. I’m the mother and the father of my children and I teach my kids right from wrong. And abuse and hitting someone is untolerated by me. I don’t tolerate that and he knows that.”