LAS VEGAS (AP) — Criminal charges were dropped Thursday against Las Vegas Aces player Riquna Williams after the alleged victim in a July domestic violence incident at their home stopped cooperating with prosecutors ahead of a preliminary hearing to determine if the case should go to trial.
Williams’ attorney, Brandon Albright, told reporters that Williams hopes to rejoin the team for WNBA playoffs that begin next week. Williams did not speak in court and declined outside court to comment.
“It’s our hope that in short order she’ll be able to join her team,” Albright said.
The 33-year-old shooting guard nicknamed “Bay Bay” was a key member of last year’s Aces championship run. But she hasn’t played this season because of a back injury. She is on the roster but was barred from the team following her arrest.
Outside the courtroom, Albright said Williams was “cleared physically to be on the court, and this case was the final hurdle to allow her to rejoin her teammates.” Albright also said Williams was continuing treatment for “a mental health disorder," but he cited privacy rights and declined to specify any diagnosis.
Aces officials did not immediately respond to telephone and text messages about Williams’ status. The team is 32-6, atop the Western Division and playoff-bound with two games to play before the regular season ends Sunday.
Deputy Clark County District Attorney Taylor Reeves told Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Amy Wilson that prosecutors became unable to reach Williams' wife, who moved to Florida after Williams' arrest on July 25. Police said the two argued about breaking up after about four years together. They married last September.
“She stopped responding to our office,” Reeves told the judge.
Wilson accepted Albright's assurance that Williams had no contact with the woman, which would have violated a court order.
The judge dismissed five felony charges, including domestic battery by strangulation, coercion by force and assault with a weapon, and four misdemeanor domestic battery allegations. She also released Williams from home detention and GPS monitoring, and lifted bans on travel and alcohol use.
Reeves told Wilson she served notice to Albright that the case could be taken to a grand jury. Albright told reporters that an indictment was unlikely with a victim unwilling to cooperate.
Williams played for the University of Miami before she was drafted into the WNBA in 2012 by the Tulsa Shock. She also has played professionally overseas.
She served a 10-game league suspension in 2019 after an arrest on domestic-battery charges. She was playing for the Los Angeles Sparks at the time.
Associated Press sports writer Mark Anderson in Las Vegas contributed to this report.
Ken Ritter, The Associated Press