Ex-NFL defensive lineman Justin Bannan found guilty of attempted murder

BOULDER, Colo. — A former 12-year NFL defensive lineman was found guilty Friday night of shooting a woman in 2019.

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Justin Bannan, 42, was convicted by a Colorado jury of attempted first-degree murder extreme indifference, attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault with a deadly weapon and first-degree assault extreme indifference, according to the Daily Camera.

A Boulder County jury deliberated for about eight hours before reaching a verdict, the newspaper reported.

Bannan had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, KDVR reported.

Bannan played for the University of Colorado from 1997 to 2001, the television station reported. He spent 12 years in the NFL after being drafted in the fifth round in 2002 by the Buffalo Bills. Bannan played in Buffalo from 2002 to 2005. He also played for the Baltimore Ravens (2006 to 2009), Denver Broncos (2010 and 2012), the St. Louis Rams (2011) and Detroit Lions (2013).

Prosecutors alleged that Bannan was inside a Boulder building that housed his business on Oct. 16, 2019, when he shot the victim, referred to as Ashley Marie in court, who worked at another business inside the building, KDVR reported.

Police said Bannan shot the 36-year-old woman in the shoulder when she arrived for work and opened a door because he believed that Russian gangsters were following him, the television station reported.

The woman told USA Today in April that she arrived for work, opened the door to her treatment room and was immediately shot.

“There was a huge noise,” Ashley Marie told the newspaper. “Next thing I know, I’m sitting in the middle of the doorway and I’m holding my arm and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, what was that noise? And why does my arm feel like it’s been ripped off my body?’”

When police found Bannan at the scene, he was carrying a bag that contained two loaded handguns, along with an extra magazine, KDVR reported. They also found a rolled-up $20 bill coated with a white substance that tested positive for cocaine, the television station reported.

The woman’s injuries were not life-threatening.

Bannan’s defense team had argued that Bannan had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, commonly known as CTE, the Daily Camera reported. Attorneys contended that Bannan’s brain injuries made him ill and caused paranoia, the newspaper reported.

“Clearly, there was evidence of injury to the brain,” defense attorney Harvey Steinberg said during closing arguments Friday. “There’s no question.”

Adrian Van Nice, with the Boulder County District Attorney’s office, said the case was about the victim and not about Bannan’s possible injuries caused during his playing career.

“This case is about a woman who got up in the morning, got ready for work, played with her daughter, drove to what would be her office, a place of healing, opened the door and found her life changed forever,” Van Nice said.

Bannan will be sentenced at 10:30 a.m. MDT on Nov. 5, the Daily Camera reported. The sentencing range for the most serious charge is 16 to 48 years in state prison.