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Assault charge dropped against former Davidson quarterback

The district attorney’s office has dismissed an assault charge against former Davidson College quarterback J.P. Douglas, who was suspended from the football squad in October after stabbing a suite mate.

Douglas, 22, was accused of assaulting former Davidson football tight end Scott Holzwarth. In the dismissal notice, prosecutor Dan McNeill said Douglas claimed he acted in self-defense and “the evidence does not contradict his claim.”

The altercation between the students began early on the morning of Oct. 19 just outside the window of a suite-style dorm, according to the dismissal notice. Both Douglas and Holzwarth admitted striking and/or wrestling each other.

The fighting escalated inside. According to the dismissal notice, Douglas returned to his locked room. Witnesses told police they heard Holzwarth banging on Douglas’ door – and their statements were corroborated by damage to the door.

Douglas said he opened the locked door and cut Holzwarth on the shoulder because he felt threatened. The wound was minor, the court documents said. Police also discovered a knife belonging to Holzwarth in the hall.

Investigators determined that alcohol use by both students contributed to the incident.

“Due to the facts that the defendant was in his own room and there were no eyewitnesses beyond the two parties involved, the state does not believe it could meet the obligation of proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” McNeill, an assistant district attorney, wrote in the dismissal notice.

Douglas completed the semester and is at home now in Roswell, Ga., on winter break. His attorney, Harold Cogdell, said Douglas still faces a college disciplinary hearing. Douglas hopes to graduate in May and go to medical school, said his mother, Cynthia Douglas.

“The truth has come out, and now they can see that J.P. didn’t do anything criminally wrong,” she said. “It weighed heavily on him. He lost his football season. He was not allowed to live on campus. … This threatened his future.”

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