Castro Masaniai To Return To Practice Today

Castro Masaniai returned to practice with the Oregon St. Beavers today after having his day in court. (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)

Junior defensive tackle Castro Masaniai will return to practice today, according to Oregon St. head coach Mike Riley.

Masaniai, 21, who was charged with coercion, harassment, and second degree criminal mischief, after an incident in May involving his girlfriend stemming from a domestic dispute, had his day in court today, and plead guilty to misdemeanor attempted coercion. The Benton County DA's office dropped the harassment and criminal mischief charges in the plea agreement reached yesterday.

The coercion charge was reduced from a felony, and Chief Deputy District Attorney Chris Stringer said that was largely because Masaniai had already began the domestic abuse program before the court case was closed, and because the victim (his girlfriend Erica Lui, 23) was satisfied with the sentence.

Masaniai was sentenced in the Benton County Circuit Court by Circuit Judge Locke Williams to 180 days in jail, but 177 of those will be suspended, and dropped upon successful completion of 18 months supervised probation and completion of a domestic violence intervention program. Masaniai was credited with the 3 days served at the time he was initially charged.

Masaniai was also charged with a fine and fees totaling $1,100.

Riley then reinstated Masaniai to the team, but suspended him from participation in one game, presumably the season opener against Sacramento St., and of course with the same stipulations about completing probation and the court ordered intervention program, and avoiding any further incidents.

"I'm just glad to be back," Masaniai said "I just want to get things straight with my family first before I think about anything else.'' [tweet via Paul Buker, the Oregonian]

Masaniai, a 6'2", 335 lb. native of Waipahu, Hawaii, was the third defensive tackle in the rotation last season until suffering a mid-season shoulder injury in the game against California. He has been listed as a starter on the pre-season depth chart, as the heir apparent to Stephen Paea. Masaniai will be of particular importance to the otherwise smallish Oregon St. defense against the run.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

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