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Darren Sharper in L.A. jail as bail denied in Arizona assault case

Crime, Law and JusticeCrimeSexual AssaultJustice SystemShootingsDarren SharperCourts and the Judiciary

An Arizona judge ruled Thursday that Darren Sharper was ineligible for bail on a sexual assault charge there, which could prevent the ex-NFL star’s release from L.A. County jail, where he has spent the last seven weeks.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren Granville determined there was “proof evidence and presumption great” on the count, meaning the judge believed there was sufficient evidence to hold him without bond, district attorney spokesman Jerry Cobb said.

Granville ruled Sharper was eligible for bond on the other four counts he faces -- three drug-related and an additional sexual assault charge -- but Cobb said the no-bail decision on the first outweighed the others.

Sharper did not appear at the two-day Arizona hearing because he remained in custody in Los Angeles, where he faces similar charges. The 38-year-old appeared before Los Angeles Judge Renee Korn twice this week for hearings regarding his bail and possible extradition, but Korn delayed both, waiting for the Arizona ruling.

Sharper is due back in Los Angeles court Friday morning.

In all, the Super Bowl-winning safety is accused of drugging and assaulting eight women in four cities: Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Tempe, Ariz. Police in Miami Beach also are investigating an alleged sexual battery there.

Sharper has been charged only in the California and Arizona cases. Prosecutors in both states said they plan to let the Los Angles matter be decided before Sharper is sent to Arizona.

"Our next move, as far as we're concerned -- unless something comes up -- is to seek to return him here to face charges once California is finished with him," Cobb said Thursday.

Los Angeles prosecutors were the first to file charges in January, alleging Sharper drugged and attacked two women he met at a West Hollywood club in two separate incidents. He initially posted bail and was released but was taken into custody again in late February after New Orleans police issued a warrant for his arrest in connection with their case.

While Sharper was being held on the Louisiana warrant, an Arizona grand jury indicted him on five charges.

At the hearing in Phoenix, a Tempe police detective testified Sharper’s DNA was recovered from the clothing of one of two alleged victims, according to media reports. Det. Kevin Mace said a partial DNA match for Sharper was found on the same woman’s genitals.

But, Mace said, none of Sharper’s DNA was found during an exam of the other woman.

Mace also testified police had searched the apartment where the attacks allegedly occurred and found a shot glass with a white residue. That residue was determined to be zolpidem, an Ambien generic for which Sharper had a prescription.

L.A. prosecutors allege Sharper used zolpidem in the California attacks.

Court documents filed in Los Angeles outline allegations against Sharper similar to those from the alleged victims in other states. Women reported meeting the five-time Pro Bowl player, usually at a nightclub, then going back to his hotel room or an apartment.

Sharper allegedly then offered the women -- who were often in pairs or groups of three -- shots of alcohol.

After drinking the shots, the women said, they immediately blacked out. Many said they woke up with little or no memory of what had happened but believed they had been sexually assaulted.

Sharper played for the Green Bay PackersMinnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints. After the allegations surfaced, he was fired from his job with the NFL Network.

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kate.mather@latimes.com

Twitter: @katemather | Google+

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