Published: Saturday, September 13, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.

A mistrial was declared late Friday in the case of University of Florida football player Steven Harris, who was accused of attacking a college student outside a Gainesville nightclub earlier this year.

Jurors announced they were deadlocked and unable to reach a unanimous verdict shortly after 11:30 p.m.

Defense attorney Robert Rush said a juror told him the vote was 5-1 for a not guilty verdict.

Harris, who looked tired after a day spent in court, said, "We did all we could do. I'm not really upset, just tired of having to go through it."

Spencer Mann, with the state attorney's office, said the prosecution will evaluate how the jury received the case and its strengths and weaknesses before making any further decisions on how they will proceed. A tentative trial date has been set for October to rehear the case.

Harris, 19, is charged with felony battery, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

At the daylong trial, witnesses described a scene where drinking and tempers caused fights to flare inside and outside a downtown club called The Palace early on April 13. But, while some witnesses testified they saw Harris kick or throw UF student Brian Assent, 22, to the ground, five of his teammates refuted the allegations. They said Harris did hit someone in the club, but outside he didn't do anything except pull another player out of a pile of people at the melee.

Harris also took the stand in his own defense in the case his defense attorney Robert Rush called one of mistaken identity.

While he acknowledged shoving a UF track team member inside the club, he said it was a mistake he apologized for later that same night. He didn't learn he was under investigation for injuring Assent until after Gainesville Police spoke to him several days after the incident.

"I had no idea what was going on at all," Harris said. He also denied making statements police attributed to him that he hit other people that night and didn't know who or how many he struck.

Harris and many other members of the UF football team had gone to a party at the University Avenue club, witnesses testified. It was thrown by a college fraternity the night of this year's spring game.

Assent, a fraternity member, testified he was standing outside the club soon after people had been told to leave at about 2 a.m. While watching an argument between a fraternity member and UF football player Channing Crowder, Assent said he was "sucker punched" and went down.

"I was kind of like shocked," Assent said. He tried to get up but apparently was hit again. He never saw who hit him.

Doctors testified Assent's front teeth on his bottom jaw had been pushed back by the blow. He also lost a tooth and received a laceration that left a hole under his lip and needed stitches.

Three students, all fraternity brothers, testified they saw a man they identified as Harris either kicking Assent or throwing him to the ground.

Football players Crowder, Reginald Lewis, Gavin Dickey, Tremaine McCollum and Terrence Holmes, however, testified Harris did nothing.

Crowder had also been charged in the case involving Assent but entered a no-contest plea in June to a misdemeanor battery charge.

On cross-examination by Assistant State Attorney Shawn Thompson, the players acknowledged they had not come forward to police with their information although the investigation involving Assent had been ongoing for months.

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