Houston Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. was arrested in New York City Monday morning, September 11, 2023, on charges of assault and strangulation of his girlfriend, who was taken to a hospital.
Forbes magazine reports that Porter Jr., 23, was arrested early Monday at the hotel where he and girlfriend Kysre Gondrezick, a former WNBA player, were staying.
ABC News reports that when Porter Jr. returned to the 4-star Millenium Hilton New York Hotel at 1 UN Plaza, where he and Gondrezick were staying, she was upset with the late hour of his return and locked the door. Police sources said Porter Jr. was allowed entrance thanks to the assistance of hotel security, after which he proceeded to attack the woman.
Police received a 911 call about an assault around 6:45 a.m. and then responded.
A police spokesperson said Gondrezick, 26, suffered a cut on the right side of her face and complained of neck pain. She was taken to a hospital for evaluation and was listed in stable condition with a fractured neck vertebra and a cut above her right eye.
Police said their initial investigation at the scene revealed that a “known individual” had “struck the woman multiple times” and also had “placed his hands around the neck.”
Porter Jr. was arrested by police at the hotel and taken to the NYPD’s 17th Precinct in Midtown. On Monday afternoon, he awaited arraignment (a formal reading of a criminal charge) in Manhattan Criminal Court.
The assault charge and the separate strangulation charge are both felonies in New York.
Porter Jr. and his girlfriend, a free agent who has played for the Indiana Fever and the Chicago Sky, reportedly were visiting New York for Fashion Week.
If you face a charge of assault or some other crime, you may be wondering if it’s possible to get a charge against you dropped in Texas. The answer is yes—but it depends on the circumstances.
NBA, Rockets react to Porter Jr. charge
Mike Bass, an NBA spokesperson, said the league is in contact with the Rockets about the alleged incident and is gathering more information about it.
In a statement, the Rockets organization said, “We are in the process of gathering information surrounding the matter involving Kevin Porter Jr. We have no further comment at this time.”
Earlier reports of Porter Jr.’s misconduct
Forbes says the incident was not the first misconduct claim made against Porter Jr.
In 2020, he was accused of punching a woman and pulling her hair in Cleveland, where he was playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was not charged in relation to that. Several weeks later, he was arrested for being in possession of a loaded gun, a charge that was ultimately dropped.
In 2021, Porter Jr. allegedly had a locker room outburst in Cleveland, and soon after that, he was traded to Houston.
Last season was his best as an NBA player, with Porter Jr. averaging 19.2 points, 5.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game.
According to Houston’s KTRK News, Porter Jr. signed a 4-year contract extension last season, valued at up to $82.5 million. Only his $15.9 million salary for this season is fully guaranteed in the deal, which KTRK said is “uniquely structured” due to his “history of off-court issues.”
Assault, strangulation charges in Texas
Strangulation and assault offenses also can lead to felony charges in Texas, where an assault can be categorized as a “simple assault” (a misdemeanor) or an “aggravated assault” (a felony).
The meaning of a simple assault is that someone knowingly, intentionally or recklessly caused bodily injury to another person, or even simply threatened to do so, with no physical contact.
The crime of a simple assault causing bodily injury in Texas is a Class A misdemeanor. Punishments include up to a year in jail and a fine of as much as $4,000.
Simply threatening bodily injury or making non-violent physical contact that provokes another person is a Class C misdemeanor. Punishments involve a fine but no jail time.
By contrast, another form of assault in Texas is an aggravated assault. This means that a person caused serious bodily injury to another person or that they used or brandished a deadly weapon during an assault.
What is considered serious bodily injury?
Under Texas law, it means “bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.”
Such an aggravated assault is a second-degree felony in Texas. Punishments for that criminal offense include 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of as much as $10,000.
In cases where the assault also involved circumstances such as domestic violence, the crime can be considered a first-degree felony with punishments that include up to life in prison. Other elements that can increase the seriousness of the crime and its punishments include:
- Choking, or impeded breathing,
- Assault with a prior conviction, and
- Continuous family violence.
The crime of domestic violence involving strangulation or suffocation is a felony in Texas. It means that a person “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly” impeded the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of another person “by applying pressure to the person’s throat or neck or by blocking the person’s nose or mouth.”
Even for a first offense, such a crime can bring a prison sentence of 2 to 10 years. When the defendant has had a prior conviction for family violence, the crime can become a second-degree felony, which can bring a prison sentence of 2 to 20 years.
Get an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer
As you can see, a claim, accusation, allegation or charge of assault, strangulation or other forms of domestic violence can lead to serious penalties and punishments under Texas law.
That’s why it is vital for persons who face such an accusation or charge to protect their legal rights by engaging the best criminal defense attorney they can find.
Persons who live in Houston, Sugar Land, The Woodlands or elsewhere in Harris County, Fort Bend County or Montgomery County can find an experienced, skilled and knowledgeable defense lawyer at the award-winning Neal Davis Law Firm.
Contact us today to arrange a private and confidential consultation for your case.