Sex, Lies and Audiotape: Can Tyreek Hill Outrun The Espinal Family?
Ei Incumbit Probatio Qui Dicit, Non Qui Negat
“The burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on the one who denies.”
Above is one of the most sacred principles in the American criminal justice system, holding that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. But it seems to have been replaced with guilty until proven innocent.
Even so, in any case, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt each essential element of the crime charged.
Unless, of course, you are a young black male in Oklahoma with no money to pursue the most basic and sacred principles and you get offered a plea deal, born out of fear, and designed to provide a false sense of security for the future.
Such is the case of Tyreek Hill. You’re probably wondering, “Guys, come on, he plead guilty.” For those never caught in the cross hairs of the legal system, this is an easy position to take. Long crucial to the operation of American justice, this shadow system is now going global.
One study of 90 countries found that just 19 permitted plea bargains in 1990. Today, that number has risen to 66. In many countries, including England and Australia, pleas now account for a majority of guilty verdicts. In American local, state and federal courts the share is close to 100 percent.
Let’s examine Hill, who was broke and raised by his grandparents and could barely afford his attorney. As his trial date drew near, he could not meet the financial demands of fighting to clear his name and thus received a public defender in his 2014 case. His decision: risk a trial with a public defender and a jail sentence or take a plea deal and a chance at saving his football career. He was heavily forced, if not coerced, into taking an offer by the public defendant and the prosecution.
The thought at the time was that the structure of his plea deal would still give him a chance to play football. As a young black athlete, the thought of being incarcerated was too much. The reality, however, especially in the age of the Internet — the plea deal is a Scarlet Letter because it lingers as a shadow and the Internet never forgets.
When both sides of the legal aisle came down on Hill, he was left with no choice and took the plea deal. Frankly, if any of us were in his shoes and facing the allegations he faced, a large majority of us (if not all) would take the plea deal.
If you don’t believe this, let us introduce you to the story of Brian Banks. In the summer of 2002, Banks was considered a top college football prospect. A 6-foot-4, 225-pound middle linebacker at Long Beach Poly High, Banks said he had been courted by USC, UCLA and other football powerhouses.
He was attending summer school, and asked his teacher for permission to leave class so he could make a phone call, according to court papers. Then Banks, a senior, ran into Wanetta Gibson, a sophomore. Banks said they fooled around, but any sexual contact was consensual. Unfortunately Banks served five years in prison for alleged rape and a promising career vanished over manipulated allegations.
Gibson contacted Banks via Facebook years later and eventually admitted she manufactured the entire story. We encourage you to read up on the story at the links below. In fact, we would prefer you pause reading this and fully explore Brian Banks before proceeding.
Welcome Back to Our Story
After reviewing Banks, you can understand why Hill took the plea deal offered. Or at least, you should. So why are we even chasing this story? We believe, based on the information, that a somewhat similar situation is happening to Hill.
Please understand, this is not about random fanboys desperate to see Hill catch touchdowns from Patrick Mahomes. It’s far deeper. It is about speaking up and daylighting truth.
It is clear now that the local Kansas City media has missed a golden opportunity to dig into this story. To be fair, there are great reporters in KC and unfortunately their names are being dragged down with some cowtown media clowns. There are good, responsible journalists in Kansas City who don’t deserve to be thrown into the proverbial pit of alligators.
It’s clear that KCTV5, specifically Casey Clark and Angie Ricono, have whiffed on this story. The Kansas City Star and Brooke Pryor failed miserably. They all latched onto the domestic abuse theme and refused to let go. However, something seemed amiss in this story from day one, yet nobody dug deep. Journalism failed Kansas City and failed Tyreek Hill.
The media presents the version of news that will generate traffic, engagement, ratings and virality. Some reporters — and clearly the Star’s editorial board — showed a biased agenda against Hill this spring and summer. Oddly, The Star makes sure to reference his 2014 incident as often as possible, describing it graphically, a reminder to the reader that even someone who has had his record expunged of wrongdoing is capable of horrible acts at any time.
The local press has never re-examined the 2014 incident. Everyone took it at surface value. Hill was arrested on the accusation of punching and choking his pregnant girlfriend, Crystal Espinal. In 2015, he plead guilty to those charges and received three years of probation. His plea agreement demanded he attend a 52-week intervention course. He received two years of supervised probation. It’s important to note his plea agreement specifically stated he would not be labeled a convicted felon and the charges were wiped from his record.
As we dug into this story, we found significant evidence that suggested Hill WAS NOT GUILTY of what he was being accused of. On November 3, 2014, Hill called 911 because Espinal was rambunctious and would not leave his residence. On December 11, Hill was arrested for battery by strangulation for allegedly assaulting Espinal, who was supposedly eight weeks pregnant at that time.
A source has come forward to tell us that the November 2014 dispute at Hill’s residence centered on Hill breaking things off with Espinal, who told Hill she was pregnant. There was no physical altercation, but rather frustration over the news. Hill felt he was trapped by Espinal, who lied to him about her use of birth control pills. This same source did confirm that Espinal was sexually active with another OSU student-athlete during the fall 2014 time frame.
On the night of December 11, 2014, Stillwater police responded to the Stillwater Medical Center Emergency Room at 9:39 p.m. It was there that Espinal was seeking medical attention for injuries to her left eye, upper lip, neck and right cheek, consistent to her claims of being punched and strangled. Around 11 p.m. that same night, police arrived at Hill’s residence and placed him under arrest on probable cause for domestic abuse by strangulation.
Through old-fashioned networking and investigative research, we have spoken to one of the attending nurses who distinctly remembers the incident. While this person will not go on record and demanded to remain anonymous, they shared concern that Espinal was never punched in the stomach as claimed.
This person also indicated that some (not all) hospital staff had doubts on the actuality of the injuries, with some staff concerned about the possibility of self-infliction. Lastly — and this part might be difficult to read for some — sources informed us that Crystal was into a rougher variety of intimacy than others might be accustomed to. As we will detail later, both parties have admitted to engaging in consensual sex on December 11, 2014, just hours before the ER visit and arrest.
We reached out to Cheryl Ramsey from The Law Offices of Szlichta and Ramsey, but received no reply. Ramsey was Hill’s attorney who, according to court transcripts, asked Espinal multiple times whether she had seen a psychologist for self-mutilation in the past, but Judge Katherine Thomas overruled the questioning as irrelevant to the case. In hindsight, it might have been relevant, just brushed off by the system. Hill was unable to afford Ramsey’s services and ultimately had to use a public defender.
In addition to our sources, a recent nugget from a Vahe Gregorian story further calls into question what happened in Stillwater:
“As might what Hill’s birth father, Derrick Shaw, said in an interview three years ago. The night before the trial was scheduled in August 2015 in Stillwater, Shaw said he believed Hill would fight the charge. He was stunned to see on SportsCenter the next night that Hill, who grew up with his paternal grandparents, had pleaded guilty.”
Shaw said Hill told him that he was advised, either by his then-agent and/or attorney Jay Husbands (who replaced Ramsey when Hill failed to meet “monetary obligations,” The Oklahoman reported) that pleading guilty and accepting the three-year deferred sentence was the best way to make sure he avoided jail.
The family, Shaw said, didn’t want him to do that because they believed in his innocence and anticipated what the plea would mean going forward.
“It’s always going to follow him,” Shaw said in 2016, “and that’s what I don’t want.”
Follow The Money
Disclaimer: The following information was obtained through deep research from available public records.
There have been hundreds if not thousands of stories about athletes making poor choices with women and accidental pregnancies. However, there is a strong and developing motive that Espinal wanted to latch onto an athlete. Crystal and Tyreek started dating in June 2014 but it wasn’t a fully exclusive relationship. What was she really after? Likely, a better life and the storybook romance of college sweethearts destined for a happy ending in NFL stardom.
However, that might not be the entire story. Crystal’s upbringing was somewhat transient. Her father, Sergio, was a baseball standout at Oklahoma State University. The Chicago Cubs grabbed him in the 15th round of the 1985 MLB Draft. Afterwards, baseball success slowly eroded, so Espinal got into coaching and moved around a lot to several different collegiate programs. According to our sources, during this time he racked up considerable debt, which is common for journeyman baseball coaches.
Being an OSU Alum, Espinal was familiar with the athletic program. Once he learned Espinal was dating Tyreek Hill, he reportedly became interested in the relationship. From one source, who requested to remain anonymous for this story, “Sergio viewed Tyreek as a meal ticket. He knew Hill had NFL first- round talent. He knew his daughter could have a potentially comfortable life and thus so could he.”
Ironically, starting in 2013 and continuing into 2014 and through 2017, the Espinal family endured financial hardships with missed house payments. This is based on bank records we obtained, but will not disclose due to personal information. We have located, however, evidence from public records:
Between November 3, 2014 and December 10, 2014, our source described the relationship between Hill and the Espinals as tense and uneasy. Hill felt betrayed by Crystal. On the day that Hill was arrested, he allegedly told Espinal he wanted nothing to do with her. They also had consensual intercourse. You can hear her admit this on the recent 11-minute recording (3:55). She omitted this to police in her original report, and yet it came out in a deposition in early 2015 as both sides prepared for trial.
What’s missing from the Stillwater police report is the timeline and information prior to her arrival in the hospital. Through the legal process, Hill’s defense focused on additional events that took place throughout that day and a phone call that took place after Hill’s practice ended, but was never brought to daylight in the trial.
What specifically happened remains an unsolved mystery to this day.
That NFL Life
When the Kansas City Chiefs drafted Hill in the fifth round in the 2016 draft, they rightfully took heat. However, over time Hill became a fan favorite and separated himself from his previous life. After all of the legal matters subsided, Hill accepted his role as a father. Hill and Espinal weren’t always together, but she would visit Kansas City. She seemingly became enamored with WAG NFL status and her rising stock on Instagram. The pair seemingly turned a corner in their relationship.
Around this time, according to property records provided to us, the property belonging to Espinal’s parents became extremely delinquent and a company called Core Logic took over payments in 2017–2018.
In September 2018, Hill and Espinal became engaged and she moved to Kansas City full time. This brought joy for Hill, because he was going to see his son, Zev, full time.
During the course of the 2018 season, Hill undoubtedly began to realize how Espinal dealt with discipline. Both Espinal and Hill, as any parents of a young child might, struggled with how to discipline their son. We know that Espinal, according to the 11-minute audio tape, used a belt on her child, and of course tweeted this not so long ago (her account has since been locked).
In December 2018, the Chiefs traveled to Seattle to play the Seahawks. In the image below, Sergio is holding Zev. We had this picture reviewed by a retired forensics examiner in Phoenix, Arizona and they confirmed his left arm — which is hard to see but slightly raised in the picture — is unbroken.
In January 2019, at the Pro Bowl, images leaked on social media showing Zev with a cast around his broken left arm. We can now establish that at some point between December 23, 2018 and January 24, 2019, Zev did sustain a broken arm. Based upon information and belief, the toddler suffered the injury falling and using his left arm to brace his fall while in the care of a family member when Hill was not around. It is now reported fact that there was no child abuse in relation to the broken arm.
In February 2019, according to a source, Hill stopped making payments (perhaps as much as $6,000) on a house for Dana Espinal in Dallas. At this point, the relationship took a hard turn for the worse. Hill had reached a breaking point with Espinal and privately called off the engagement. The family objected and made multiple threats against Hill. It was known within the confines of the family that Hill was on the verge of a large payday from the Chiefs featuring a healthy extension that would have helped wipe out the financial troubles the Espinal family faced. This was confirmed via a different source, who asked to remain anonymous.
As many know, Hill and Espinal visited San Diego for personal reasons including working a football camp, taking a picture with a cheetah at the San Diego Zoo and attending an AAF game in late February. This trip was supposed to be an opportunity for Crystal and Tyreek to reconcile since she was pregnant — a test to see if the trip to Dubai would be OK. It was also a chance for Crystal to convince Hill to resume payments. Sadly, Espinal reportedly caught Hill with another woman. This incident set into motion a calculated “plan of attack” formulated by the Espinal family.
On March 5, the NFL Network reported the Chiefs and Hill were in negotiations on a record-setting deal. This tweet was sent at 1:04 p.m.
At approximately 2:25 p.m, barely an hour later, police were called to Hill’s home in Overland Park, KS to investigate abuse and neglect. This stemmed from the broken arm that Zev sustained between December 23, 2018 and January 24, 2019. The investigation by Overland Park Police was immediately cleared and by March 8, 2019, prosecution declined to pursue any charges.
Here’s what’s important:
- On March 7, Hill was in Pearson, GA speaking to kids at his old elementary school.
- On March 9, Hill tweeted “this 13-hour flight should be fun.” As he and Espinal travelled to Dubai.
- On March 12, Dirk Taitt, NFL Security Rep assigned to the Kansas City Chiefs, filed an FOI with Overland Park Police for all reports and evidence for allegations of abuse.
- On March 13, Meredith Robinson tweets: “@Chiefs did Tyreek Hill really just break his son’s arm? Heard police and child services are involved. Keep the good guys like Ford and Houston instead! @KCTV5, @KMBC, @fox4kc, @TMZ_Sports”
- On March 14, another complaint is called into Overland Park PD and police visit Hill’s home. He’s not present due to the trip.
- On March 15, Kansas City Star writers Brooke Pryor and Steve Vockrodt co-publish an article titled: “Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill under investigation for alleged battery.” In this story, “A source familiar with the situation said Hill’s fiancee has been in contact with Overland Park police. The source said that the incident was against the couple’s 3-year-old son, resulting in a broken arm.”
- This source is likely Meredith Robinson, or someone close to her.
While all of these dates line up in March of 2019, the Espinals were in Kansas City on December 30 for New Year’s and the Chiefs final game of the regular season. Just a week after the game in Seattle.
Their verified presence in Kansas City at this time is important.
We have acquired private communication from “Meredith Robinson,” records of which are almost certainly in the hands of the NFL by now, which contain key admissions:
- During the late December/early January visit, Sergio began telling close friends that Tyreek Hill broke his son’s arm. This was indicated multiple times.
- The secretly recorded audio had been sent to KCTV5 and would be played soon.
- An opinion was offered that Crystal needed to “flip” on Tyreek Hill to “save her ass.”
- The idea was floated that if Crystal did not receive custody of Zev, the Espinal parents would, and thereby potential child support.
- Dana Espinal gave Crystal a new phone on March 13 or March 14 — around the same date “Meredith Robinson’s” smoking gun of a tweet was fired.
Based upon information, both private and public, we believe that one, or both, of the Espinal parents demanded her daughter secretly begin recording Hill. Crystal, we have been told, didn’t initially follow these wishes but finally relented when the couple traveled to Dubai.
The resulting tidal wave has been unfair and potentially illegal.
It should be clear now, there are questionable motives for the Espinals ever being connected to Tyreek Hill. The hard evidence presented above establishes a clear motive for taking advantage of an NFL superstar with no shortage of cash headed for an even bigger payday.
Rest assured, the NFL has all of this evidence and more. It is our belief, based on ALL the facts (not just the ones that suit our agenda) and information relayed to us by private sources, Tyreek Hill is most certainly a victim in these events.
Adding a new twist to an already bizarre story, was the filing this past week by Espinal, who filed a paternity action against Hill in Johnson County court. She seeks to determine paternity of twins born this month. According to the petition, the couple “are not married, never have been married, and do not intend to be married.”
Espinal also demanded the case be sealed to prevent leaks. In speaking to three different lawyers (two in Phoenix and one in Kansas City), Hill has a window to produce and provide testimony in this new filing for the court to hear and weigh. Hill, theoretically, can now travel back in time to provide insights into the 2014 incident as evidence that Crystal should not have custody. What happens in this filing remains to be seen.
It’s anyone’s guess what sort of reaction Roger Goodell will have to any of this, but a logical conclusion would seem to be no more than a two-game suspension (for poor optics).
There are some who also believe Hill has a high chance of receiving nothing at all, based on the fact that Hill did…nothing at all. Certainly, in comparison to other parties involved.
But this goes beyond suspensions. Tyreek Hill will play for the Chiefs in 2019. He will get a contract extension. He could miss zero, two or four games. The NFL will make that decision.
This story is much bigger.
In the end, always remember “Ei Incumbit Probatio Qui Dicit, Non Qui Negat”
— the burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on the one who denies.