Charlotte Hornets rookie P.J. Hairston’s court case, regarding an allegation he twice punched a Durham teenager, has been continued until September 12.
Hairston was scheduled for an initial appearance Friday in Durham County Court. One of his Durham-based attorneys, William Thomas II, requested the continuance. Neither Hairston nor his accuser, Kentrell Barkley, was in the courtroom.
Thomas later said Hairston’s case might not be heard until Oct. 3. That could conflict with Hornets training camp in early October in Asheville.
Hairston got into an altercation with Barkley on July 6 during a pickup game at a Durham YMCA. Barkley, a 6-foot-5 senior at Northern Durham High School, said Hairston twice punched him without provocation.
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“These matters are routinely continued. This is called an initial appearance,” Thomas said as he left court. “The initial inquiry was whether Mr. Hairston has counsel.”
The Hornets chose Hairston 26th overall June 25 in a prearranged trade with the Miami Heat. Over the past year Hairston had various off-court issues, some of which cost him his NCAA eligibility at North Carolina and forced him into the NBA’s Developmental League.
Hairston was arrested in a traffic stop in Durham last summer and charged with marijuana possession (the charge was later dropped).
The NCAA later revoked his eligibility, related to him using a rental car that was an impermissible benefit. Along the way, he was charged with speeding between Greensboro and Charlotte in another high-profile incident.
In a prepared statement the day after the Durham incident, Hairston said: “I want to apologize to the Hornets organization and our fans for creating this distraction. I am truly sorry for any embarrassment I have caused.”
Hairston was issued a summons of misdemeanor assault-and-battery. Such matters are often resolved through mediation. Thomas declined comment when asked if his firm has approached Barkley about using mediation to resolve this case.