CALGARY - A judge facing two very different versions of who attacked whom has found a former Canadian Football League all-star guilty of assaulting his ex-girlfriend.
"I do not believe the testimony of the accused," Judge Brian Stevenson said Monday in convicting Joffrey Reynolds of assault causing bodily harm and common assault. "I am not left with any reasonable doubt."
Stevenson also convicted Reynolds, 33, of being unlawfully in a dwelling. He acquitted him of the original charge of break and enter with intent.
Reynolds's one-time girlfriend had testified at his trial that he tried to choke and smother her when she came home and found him in her bed after a night of drinking.
Kaitlin Ward, 27, had dated Reynolds for six years before ending their relationship in December 2011 upon discovering he had been cheating on her.
Ward said they were trying to determine if they could "salvage'' their relationship when she allowed him to stay with her for a couple of days after his house went into foreclosure.
Ward testified she told Reynolds at a party that he had to get out of her house. She said Reynolds got angry and kicked her in the back of the leg and was waiting for her when she got home.
Reynolds testified that it was Ward, who is seven inches taller than he is, who attacked him in a jealous rage.
Stevenson said he found the victim to be the most believable.
"I accept Miss Ward's testimony. I do not accept Mr. Reynolds testimony he was trying to calm her down," the judge said.
"He was using as much force as necessary to convince Miss Ward to allow him to stay."
Reynolds was allowed to remain free on bail despite the Crown's argument that he should be taken into custody immediately. Stevenson, who ordered a pre-sentence report, said Reynolds was not a flight risk.
A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for April 8. Reynolds was also ordered to provide a DNA sample to the Calgary police and faces a 10-year weapons prohibition.
Ward outlined her version of the attack during her testimony.
"I was shocked,'' she said. "I went by the front door to shoo him out. That's when he kind of tackled me.''
Ward told Stevenson that Reynolds was sitting on top of her.
"He's smothering my mouth and choking me. Shoving his chin into my neck,'' she said. "I was gasping for air at that point.''
Ward said Reynolds was yelling at her while he had his hands around her neck, pulled her to her feet by her hair and knocked her to the floor again.
"He kind of jumped from behind and put his knee into my back and started choking me again.''
Reynolds testified he had fallen asleep at Ward's condo and woke to her hitting him in a jealous rage.
"She's agitated. She says I'm a cheater and a liar and she's yelling by now. I had my back turned to her and she hits me in the back and the head,'' Reynolds told the court.
He said Ward, who is six-foot-five, is a strong woman and he wanted to calm her down. Reynolds is five-foot-10.
"She's a tall, athletic woman. I'm kind of on edge. I kind of get her in a bear hug. She's yelling to the point that she's mad and crying.
"I did a kind of manoeuvre where I got a knee in her back and rode her to the ground. I restrained her. I'm trying to calm her down.''
Reynolds is from Texas and played college football at the University of Houston.
He played eight years for the Stampeders and was the franchise's all-time leading rusher with 9,213 yards.
He was named a CFL all-star four times and won a Grey Cup championship with the Stampeders in 2008 before his release in 2012.
Also on HuffPost:
POINT SHAVING AT CCNY, 1947-51
The City College of New York men's basketball team won both the National Invitation Tournament and the national championship in 1950. Then a point-shaving scandal that spanned 86 games dating to 1947 was discovered. Thirty-two players from seven schools were arrested. CCNY turned from powerhouse to trivia answer. Players from Kentucky were also involved, but the Wildcats program survived to remain a powerhouse.
SMU GETS THE DEATH PENALTY, 1986
Southern Methodist boosters funneled thousands of dollars to football players through a slush fund that was administered by school officials, including former Texas governor Bill Clements. The NCAA gave the program the "death penalty" - forcing it to the sidelines for the entire 1987 season - and the Mustangs have never regained their national stature.
THE BC THREE, BOSTON COLLEGE, 1978-79
BC basketball players Rick Kuhn, Joe Streater and Jim Sweeney were persuaded to fix nine Eagles games during the season. Kuhn and two money men were handed 10 years each in prison.
HOT ROD, TULANE, 1980s
Star forward John "Hot Rod" Williams was accused of accepting more than $8,000 to shave points in several games. He was later acquitted, but the school dropped the team until 1989.
THE FAB FIVE and ED MARTIN, MICHIGAN, EARLY 1990s
Several players, including star forward Chris Webber, were paid by a booster and factory worker, Martin, from his gambling operations. All records, including two Final Fours, featuring the so-called Fab Five recruiting class, were vacated, Michigan was put on two years of NCAA probation and head coach Steve Fisher lost his job.
ACADEMIC FRAUD, MINNESOTA, 1990s
Clem Haskins' tenure with the Golden Gophers was brought down by a widespread academic fraud. Former manager Jan Gangelhoff claimed she had written papers for at least 20 players. Minnesota's records were vacated and the program was docked five scholarships. Haskins, the AD and several other officials lost their jobs.
GEORGIA ACADEMIC SCANDAL, 2002
Georgia head coach Jim Harrick and his son, Jim Jr., provided high grades to players in classes they never or seldom attended and paid players' expenses. The elder Harrick, who led the Bulldogs to NCAA tournament appearances in 2001 and 2002, resigned and his son was fired.
MURDER IN TEXAS, BAYLOR, 2003
Bears basketball transfer Patrick Dennehy was slain by teammate Carlton Dotson. Coach Dave Bliss instructed his players to lie to the NCAA by telling investigators that Dennehy was dealing drugs. Dotson pleaded guilty to murder, Bliss was fired and Baylor self-imposed penalties of a one-year postseason ban and a loss of scholarships.
NO MORE HEISMAN, USC, 2005
Reggie Bush, winner of the 2005 Heisman, was stripped of the award after it was revealed that his parents were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by an agent. Southern California coach Pete Carroll left for the NFL, but the Trojans were stripped of 30 scholarships and given a two-year postseason ban.
TATTOO U, OHIO STATE, 2010
Buckeyes football coach Jim Tressel admitted that he knew several of his star players were trading memorabilia for cash and tattoos in violation of NCAA rules, but sat on that information for 10 months until after the players participated in a 12-1 season that resulted in a Sugar Bowl win over Arkansas. Tressel was forced to resign, Ohio State vacated the 2010 season and was hit with NCAA probation and a loss of scholarships.
THE BOOSTER, MIAMI, 2011
A total of 73 Hurricanes football players have been implicated in the latest scandal to hit the Miami program. A booster, Nevin Shapiro, subsequently jailed for running a pyramid scheme, allegedly dispensed money, prostitutes, cars and vacations to the players. Shapiro said coaches and university officials knew of his gifts. The case is pending before the NCAA.
BOBBY PETRINO, ARKANSAS, 2012
Petrino, the Arkansas coach, initially said he was riding alone when he was injured in a motorcycle accident. It was subsequently learned that Jessica Dorrell, a former Razorbacks volleyball player, was with Petrino and had had an extramarital affair with him. Petrino had paid Dorrell $20,000 and set her up with a job in the athletic department. Petrino was fired.