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Former NFL player Kellen Winslow II sentenced to 14 years in rape case

Former NFL player Kellen Winslow II looks on during his trial in 2019.
Former NFL player Kellen Winslow II looks on during his trial in 2019. On Wednesday, Winslow II was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
(John Gibbins / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Former NFL player Kellen Winslow II was sentenced Wednesday to a 14-year prison term following his 2019 convictions for rape and other crimes involving sexual misconduct.

Winslow — once a first-round NFL draft pick and later the highest paid tight-end in the league — must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Winslow’s sentence was expected. He had been looking at a range between 12 to 18 years after his conviction for raping a homeless woman other charges. The final decision was to be at the discretion of Superior Court Judge Blaine Bowman.

But last week, Winslow — the namesake son of the Chargers’ legend — agreed to a deal that capped his prison sentence at 14 years.

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In court Wednesday, Bowman, who presided over the trial, dismissed statements from Winslow’s attorney that Winslow’s behavior could have stemmed from repeated head trauma sustained from years of football, noting that one of the incidents happened before the defendant’s pro career.

“That leaves us with someone who can only be described in two words — and that is a sexual predator,” Bowman said. “That’s what Kellen Winslow II is. He’s a sexual predator. He preys on vulnerable victims and is very brazen in the way he carries out his crimes.”

Shortly before Bowman handed down the sentence, Winslow, 37, declined to make a statement, citing his attorney’s advice.

“In the future, I do plan to tell my story,” Winslow said.

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Tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. on 2004 NFL draft day
Tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was selected sixth overall by the Cleveland Browns at the 2004 NFL Draft on April 24, 2004 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
(Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

In June 2018, Winslow was arrested and accused of raping a homeless women and other sex crimes targeting women in Encinitas.

A year later, his trial ended with a split verdict. A North County jury found him guilty of raping a 58-year-old Encinitas homeless woman he had befriended in May 2018. The panel also found he’d exposed himself to a 57-year-old neighbor and committed lewd behavior in front of a 77-year-old woman in a Carlsbad gym.

But the jury deadlocked on other charges, including the alleged 2018 rape of a 54-year-old hitchhiker in Encinitas.

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Five months later, as his retrial was about to start — the jury was waiting in the hallway — Winslow agreed to plead guilty to two charges: sexual battery of the hitchhiker and the 2003 rape of an unconscious teen when 19 years old.

The sexual battery plea was later dismissed and replaced with a guilty plea to assault with the intent to commit rape on the same woman, in order to come to a 14-year sentence.

Winslow had been scheduled to be sentenced March 2020, but COVID closures and other postponements pushed the hearing back a year.

Winslow grew up in San Diego and attended Patrick Henry and Scripps Ranch high schools before attending the University of Miami. The sixth draft pick in 2004, he played in the NFL for 10 seasons, until 2013.

Updates

12:23 PM, Mar. 03, 2021: This story was updated with comments from the judge and the defendant.


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