Former four-division world titleholder Adrien Broner, whose trial on charges of felony assault and aggravated robbery was set to begin on Wednesday in his hometown of Cincinnati, had all charges against him dropped when the alleged victim and star witness failed to show up at the Hamilton County courthouse in Ohio.
Michael Tranter, the special prosecutor in the case, told ESPN.com that it was the third time the victim had not shown up. Without the key witness being willing to testify, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman had no choice but to dismiss the case, Tranter said.
"The trial was supposed to start [Wednesday] but the victim did not show up. He was supposed to," Tranter said. "If they don't show up, for whatever reason, the judge can dismiss the case. I can't move forward without a witness."
Tranter, who was assigned to the case because Hamilton County prosecutor Joseph Deters recused himself due to a personal relationship with somebody close to Broner, said it did not come as a complete surprise because police had tried to serve the victim with a subpoena multiple times but could not locate him.
"So the case is dismissed, but it could always be refiled if the witness comes forward or there is new evidence presented in the case," Tranter said.
Earlier in the year the victim dropped a civil lawsuit against Broner.
The charges stemmed from an incident during the early-morning hours of Jan. 21, when Broner allegedly assaulted a man and robbed him of $12,000 at gunpoint outside of a Cincinnati bowling alley. Broner allegedly lost the money to the victim during a night of high-stakes betting on bowling games, knocked him unconscious outside the bowling alley after a confrontation and took the money.
The trial was supposed to begin on July 20, but when Broner did not show up to the courthouse on time Ruehlman found him in contempt and sent him to county jail for 30 days. Broner arrived at the courthouse about three hours late, but the judge did not rescind the contempt charge. Broner appeared ill when he arrived, and Ruehlman told Broner he thought he looked like he had a hangover and sent him to jail. Broner, 27, served the 30 days.
After the bowling alley incident, Broner had two outstanding felony warrants issued for his arrest, but he still boxed in Washington, D.C., in a nationally televised fight on April 1 and knocked out Ashley Theophane in the ninth round -- one day after being stripped of his junior welterweight world title for failing to make the 140-pound weight limit.
Broner (32-2, 24 KOs), who has won world titles at junior lightweight, lightweight, junior welterweight and welterweight, returned to Cincinnati and turned himself in on April 4 as had been arranged between his attorney and Hamilton County officials a few days before the fight. Broner was released later that day on $100,000 bond and pled not guilty as his arraignment on April 5.
Broner is expected to fight again before the end of the year.