Haywood pleads 'not guilty' in Indiana

Says his accuser barricaded the entrance to house

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Michael Haywood, the University of Pittsburgh's football coach for less than three weeks before his firing, pleaded not guilty Monday to a domestic violence charge stemming from an argument that began, Mr. Haywood told police, when he was locked out of his South Bend house.

Magistrate Brian Steinke entered the not guilty plea on Mr. Haywood's behalf and ordered him to have no contact with accuser Beth Marriott, 38, the mother of his 1-year-old son.

According to a court document, Ms. Marriott told St. Joseph County police Officer Diana Landry on Friday that she was angry with Mr. Haywood because she suspected him of seeing another woman in Texas, and because he did not return home from there Thursday night as she expected. She barricaded the door to the house, she said, because Mr. Haywood had given keys to several people.

Mr. Haywood, 46, said he stayed in the South Bend Marriott Hotel on Thursday night because he could not enter his house, the document said. He forced the door open Friday, he said, later showing police a picture he took on his cell phone of a blue pole that he said barricaded the door.

Ms. Marriott said she and Mr. Haywood argued and that she decided to go to her brother's house with the child and put him in a car in the garage. Mr. Haywood, she said, attempted to take the boy out of the car and pulled her away by wrapping his arm around her neck and throwing her backward, causing her to fall on a wheelbarrow. She said she felt a pop in her neck but no pain, and her arm was "burning and tingling" but she did not know how she hurt it. Ms. Landry wrote that she saw dark red marks on Ms. Marriott's neck and jaw, a raised mark on her back and redness on her right arm, consistent with her story.

Mr. Haywood said he did not want Ms. Marriott to take the child and that he hadn't given her permission to use his car. He said he opened the back door to remove the child and Ms. Marriott tried to stop him by grabbing his shirt. He pushed her away with his arm and she fell, he said. He helped her to her feet, then called his attorney. He said Ms. Marriott's face, neck and chest turn red when she is upset.

Ms. Marriott showed the police officer a temporary custody order that named her as the child's primary caregiver and required both parents to agree on visitation during the New Year's holiday.

Mr. Haywood was arrested at 3:10 p.m. Friday and later charged with domestic battery in the presence of a minor, which is a Class D felony in Indiana and carries a sentence of between six months and three years. He was released from jail Saturday afternoon after posting $1,000 bond.

Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg issued a statement a few hours later, announcing that Mr. Haywood had been fired, 16 days after he had been hired away from Miami (Ohio) University to succeed Dave Wannstedt as the Panthers' head coach.

Mr. Haywood said nothing at Monday's court hearing. He sat in the front row with his attorney, Andre Gammage. Mr. Haywood must appear in court at 8 a.m. next Tuesday before Judge Jane Woodward Miller so his court dates can be set.

Mr. Haywood and Mr. Gammage declined to comment as they left the courthouse, got into a waiting red Cadillac Escalade and drove away.

Michael Dvorak, the St. Joseph County prosecuting attorney, said a no-contact order was not issued before Monday because the local interpretation of state law requires a defendant be present to do so. He also said he believed that the case would reach trial.

"The standard we impose upon ourselves is we don't charge not only unless we feel we have probable cause, but unless we believe we can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury," he said.

Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1158.


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