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MMA Hero Phoenix Jones

I Chased Down Stabbing Suspect

Disarmed Alleged Bad Guy

3/27/2015 4:01 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0327-phoenix-jones-new-haven-police-TMZSPORTS_01Real-life superhero Phoenix Jones claims he's saved the day again ... this time, the MMA fighter says he chased down a stabbing suspect in Connecticut and DISARMED the perp. 

TMZ Sports has learned ... Jones -- real name Ben Fodor -- filled out a statement with the New Haven PD saying he was walking down the street Friday when, "I saw a man being chased who was bleeding from his face."

Fodor -- who made headlines as a real-life crime-fighter in Seattle -- says he put on his bulletproof vest and confronted a man he believed to be the "stabbing suspect."

Jones says the man then displayed a hunting knife ... so he proceeded to disarm the alleged bad guy. Once he believed the threat was neutralized, Jones says he went back and waited with the victim until medics arrived. 

The 26-year-old undefeated MMA fighter says he captured the entire incident on his go-pro camera ... and handed the footage over to police. 

Cops confirm a report was made -- but say they are still investigating the matter ... including Phoenix's role in the incident.  

Stay tuned ... 

Aaron Hernandez's Fiancee

He Told Me He Didn't Kill Odin Lloyd

3/27/2015 8:01 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

Aaron Hernandez's fiancee just told the court that she asked the ex-Patriots star point blank if he murdered Odin Lloyd -- and he denied the whole thing. 

Shayanna Jenkins took the stand in Aaron's murder case moments ago and was asked if she ever discussed Lloyd's death with him.

Jenkins explained she asked Aaron about it when he first arrived home from the police station -- saying, "I asked him if he did it and he said 'No.' That was the extent of our conversation."

According to reports, Jenkins turned to Hernandez and mouthed the words "I love you" to Aaron as she walked out of the courtroom. 

Aaron Hernandez

Bomb Threat at Courthouse

3/26/2015 9:17 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

update_graphic_red_bar10:05 AM PDT -- The bomb threat was bogus and not specifically targeting the Hernandez trial ... according to the D.A.'s office. People are re-entering the courthouse, and the trial will resume at 2 PM EDT.update_grey_gray_barScary moment at the Aaron Hernandez murder trial -- when the courtroom was cleared after officials say someone called in a bomb threat. 

The building was evacuated -- and people were told to wait across the street. 

Earlier in the day, Hernandez's cousin was on the stand ... and says Hernandez's co-defendants seemed jittery on the night Odin Lloyd was murdered. 

Officials are still investigating the bomb threat. 

Story developing ... 

Darius McCrary


Child Support Scofflaw

3/26/2015 6:19 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Darius McCrary
was arrested and jailed because he was way behind in child support.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ, "The Family Matters" star was in family court Wednesday in Oakland County, Michigan when the judge had him arrested and taken to jail.

Darius was given 2 options -- pay $5,500 in back support, or unpack and relax for 14 days behind bars. Darius chose door number 1.

McCrary was only in for a couple of hours and released later in the day.

The actor has a son ... looks like he's 5 or 6 years old.  


'Glee' Star Mark Salling

Settles with Former GF

In Fight Over Sexual Encounter

3/25/2015 3:49 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF


Former "Glee" star Mark Salling has just agreed to pay a woman more than $2.7 million for knocking her to the ground in a furious fight over an alleged sexual encounter ... and the settlement is absolutely bizarre.

Roxanne Gorzela claimed in her lawsuit ... in 2011, she hooked up with Mark and she consented to having sex but he did not want to wear a condom and forced unprotected sex anyway. 

Gorzela claimed a few days later she went to Mark's apartment to confront him, worrying she might have contracted an STD. She claims they fought and he threw her to the ground, severely injuring her knees.


Mark claimed she was just a woman scorned and broke into his place, attacked him and he just defended himself. She sued for sexual battery.

The case settled Monday, in the middle of trial. The sexual battery claim was dropped and the only thing Mark admitted to was negligently causing her to fall and injure herself. 

Now this is where it gets bizarre. They agreed to her damages:

-- Past medicals  $64,155

-- Future medicals $666,000

-- Past non-economic damages $180,000

-- Future non-economic damages (pain and suffering) $1.8 million

Grand total:  $2,710,155

But under the settlement, she agreed to ONLY go after Mark's insurance company to get payment -- NOT Salling.  

We're told the insurance company -- State Farm -- already rejected the claim, but now there's a settlement signed by a judge.

And get this ... under the settlement, Salling gets a cut of whatever Gorzela gets from State Farm. Yes, in case that didn't compute with you, Salling will get a cut because he believes State Farm owes him something for rejecting his initial claim in bad faith.

Darren Sharper

Hall of Famers Rally Against Him

'He Isn't Getting In'

3/25/2015 1:02 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0325-darren-sharper-hall-of-fame-tmz-01Several NFL Hall of Famers tell TMZ Sports ... they are united AGAINST the possibility of Darren Sharper joining their elite group ... with one star putting it bluntly, "He isn't getting in."

As we previously reported, Sharper is still eligible to make the HOF -- despite the fact he's a convicted rapist -- because voters are instructed to IGNORE the players' off-the-field lives. 

But multiple former NFL stars who are currently enshrined in Canton tell us they don't like the fact that Sharper could join them one day. Here are some of the strongest quotes: 

John Randle (inducted 2010) -- "My gut says he'll never get in. At the end of the day, it looks bad upon the Hall if someone in prison for rape receives that honor. It taints the group."

Willie Roaf ( inducted 2012) -- "If Sharper was inducted, it would shine a bad light on the Hall. He would have to do a complete image makeover. I don't know if that's possible."

Dan Hampton (inducted 2002) -- "Darren Sharper has no business being considered for induction into this exclusive fraternity. The systematic commission of these heinous crimes that [he] has committed should preclude him from any HOF consideration. Simple as that."

Another HOFer who wished to remain anonymous went even stronger -- "He isn't getting in. I don't care what the rules say about only considering what happened on the field."

Darren Sharper

Eligible For Hall Of Fame...

Despite Rape Conviction

3/24/2015 3:01 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF


Despite the fact he'll be locked up for the next 9 years, convicted rapist Darren Sharper is still eligible to be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame -- and based on his numbers alone, there's a real possibility it could happen. 

TMZ Sports spoke with Joe Horrigan -- Executive V.P. of the Selection Process for the Pro Football HOF -- who tells us there's nothing in the bylaws preventing a convicted criminal from being enshrined in Canton.  

Horrigan says as long as the player has been out of the league for 5 years and has made at least 1 All-Pro team ... that person is eligible.   

That being said ... the Exec. V.P. says it's POSSIBLE voters will take Sharper's crimes into account when voting for the former New Orleans Saints superstar -- but they're not supposed to.   

FYI ... Sharper played 14 seasons in the league and was a 6-time All-Pro ... widely considered one of the best safeties of his era.

Sharper last played in 2010 ... so he would be eligible as early as 2016. 

Stay tuned ...

Lillo Brancato Jr.

Cops Call for

Boycott of New Film

3/24/2015 8:14 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

A prominent New York City police association is fuming mad that convicted felon Lillo Brancato Jr. is back on the set of a Hollywood film ... and they don't want anyone to go see it.  

The former "Sopranos" star recently shot a movie called "Back in the Day" ... which stars Danny Glover and Michael Madsen. It's Brancato's first role since he was released from prison after serving eight years for his part in a burglary that ended with the killing of an off-duty NYPD officer.

As you might expect, the NYC Patrolmen's Benevolent Association is not happy to hear Brancato is resuming his career. PBA president Patrick J. Lynch tells TMZ his organization will never forgive or forget what "that junkie Lillo Brancato" did. 

Lynch added, "We ask all right-thinking people not to support this thug’s acting career by avoiding this movie and any project in which he is involved." 

No word on when the film comes out, but a NYC premiere does NOT sound like a good idea. 

Darren Sharper

He'll Serve 9 Years ... NOT 20 For Louisiana Rapes

3/23/2015 1:14 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF


Darren Sharper will be sentenced to 20 years in Louisiana for raping 3 women, but he will only serve 9 of those years behind bars ... TMZ Sports has learned. 

Media reports saying Sharper will serve 20 years for the Louisiana rapes are incorrect.

Law enforcement sources tell us ... Louisiana prosecutors have agreed in the plea deal, after serving 9 years Sharper will get credit for the remaining 11 while free on parole and probation.  

We're told the Louisiana sentence will be served concurrently with sentences in California, Nevada and Arizona. All 4 states require Sharper behind bars for 9 years or less, so 9 is the operative number.

Short story ... Darren Sharper will be a free man in 2024.  

Darren Sharper

9 Years in Prison

For ALL Rapes

3/23/2015 10:27 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Darren Sharper just pled no contest to 2 rapes and 4 druggings in California, and he'll only have to serve 9 years ... and now we know Sharper will be a free man again in March 2024.

L.A. County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor sentenced Sharper to 20 years in prison, but he'll only have to serve half that. He gets credit for 2 years because he's been behind bars for a solid year already, so the actual remaining time behind bars is 9 years.

Earlier Monday Sharper pled guilty to sexual assault in Arizona and was sentenced to 9 years, which runs concurrently with California. 

TMZ Sports broke the story Sharper will get a maximum of 8 years in Nevada under a deal where he pleads guilty to attempted sexual assault on 2 girls. The Nevada sentence is also concurrent with Arizona and California. 

The only missing piece of the puzzle is Louisiana, where Sharper will plead guilty Tuesday to 3 rapes. That deal will be announced tomorrow, but Judge Pastor said in court the total sentence for all cases will be 9 years. That means the Louisiana sentence will also run concurrently.

Short story ... Sharper's legal team seems to have worked a miracle. He could have gotten 2 life sentences in Nevada alone. On top of that, people convicted of rape typically do 85% or more of their sentence, and he's doing only 50%.

Judge Pastor said Sharper will do his 9 years in a federal facility. 

Sharper will be placed on parole for 3 years after he's released, and will then be on probation for the rest of his life.  

He'll also be required to register as a sex offender.

Darren Sharper

'He's Disgusting, Beyond Repulsive'

... Says Ex-NFL Teammate

3/23/2015 10:51 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0323-scott-fujita-darren-sharper-getty-01One of Darren Sharper's former New Orleans Saints teammates is FURIOUS over his 9 year prison sentence -- claiming Sharper is "beyond repulsive" and says the punishment is "way too short."

We spoke with ex-NFL linebacker Scott Fujita -- who won a Super Bowl with Sharper in N.O. in 2009 -- and he couldn't believe prosecutors in Nevada and Arizona will only require Darren to serve 9 years for drugging and raping multiple women. 

"He was a great teammate, a great player," Fujita says ... "But all that aside, it's disgusting and beyond repulsive."

"Look, I'm a dad of 3 daughters ... If he ends up only serving 9 years, it's an absolute shame. It's way too short."

Darren Sharper

Stunning Plea Deal in Nevada

8 Years MAX

3/23/2015 8:52 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF


Darren Sharper will serve a maximum of 8 years in prison for allegedly attempting to sexually assault 2 girls in Nevada ... and it's especially amazing because he could have gotten a life sentence.

The deal provides that Sharper could be released after 38 months, but the max is 8 years.

We've learned the details of Sharper's Nevada plea deal. It's part of a global plea agreement in Nevada, Arizona, California and Louisiana.  

It's hugely significant, because Sharper's sentence will run concurrently with the other sentences, meaning it won't be one on top of the other.

Since Nevada was a potential life sentence, it would seem the 8 years might be in line with the other states, but we won't know until later today. An Arizona judge is about to announce the plea in that state, and later Monday morning a California judge is expected to do the same.

The Louisiana component is not expected to be announced until Tuesday.

Darren Sharper

Gets 9 Years

In AZ Rape Case

3/23/2015 8:31 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF


Darren Sharper pled guilty to 2 counts of sexual assault in Arizona -- one of four states where he faces rape charges -- and was sentenced to 9 years in prison.

The ex-NFL star was in L.A. to enter his plea in the California rape cases -- but addressed the judge in AZ over FaceTime. In addition to the 9 year sentence ... Sharper will be on probation for life.

As we TMZ Sports first reported ... Sharper is getting a max sentence of 8 years in Nevada ... to be served concurrently with his sentences in the other states. 

The AZ judge also fined Sharper $300K and said he must register as a sex offender.

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