Ray Rice, the Baltimore Ravens All Pro running back, on Thursday learned that he faced up to five years in prison on a third-degree aggravated assault charge stemming from a February 15 incident in an Atlantic City casino, when he allegedly kocked his fiancée, Janay Palmer, out cold and dragged her limp body from an elevator.
On Friday, Ray Rice and Janay Palmer got married.
While Rice and Palmer have not confirmed that the marriage took place, ESPN NFL reporter Schefter was told by NFL sources that though the wedding of Rice and Palmer was planned for the summer, they pushed the nuptials up to March 28, for reasons that remain unclear.
One other NFL player who has been harshly critical of Rice in Twitter posts — Buffalo Bills linebacker Brandon Spikes — suggested that the marriage was designed to preserve the public image of Ray Rice, in light of the beating charges. Images of Rice dragging a limp Palmer out of an elevator at the Revel Casino were captured by video surveillance cameras.
Originally, both Palmer and Ray Rice were charged in the altercation, both slapped with simple assault charges. But the charge against Palmer was dropped and on Thursday, prosecutors escalated the charge against Rice to third-degree aggravated assault, which carries a heavier sentence if Ray Rice is convicted
But the couple never broke their engagement and say that they have entered counseling. Rice’s lawyer claimed that neither Rice nor his alleged victim want the prosecution of Ray Rice to proceed.
“We deny Ray Rice committed aggravated assault. Neither Ray nor Janay Palmer wish to prosecute the matter. Ray and Janay are together. They’re happy, and they’re in counseling,” lawyer Michael Diamondstein said. “We believe that as a matter of law that Ray Rice did not commit aggravated assault. We ask only that the public reserve judgment until all the facts come to light.”
Ray Rice, 27, and Janay Palmer, 26, have continued to share a home in Reistertown, Maryland, where they have a baby daughter named Rayven. Rice would be entering the third year of his current five-year, $35 million contract with the Ravens in 2014.