“I felt great…I felt great…I felt like I got my life back a little bit,’’ said Terrell, 34, who is a single-father and lives Lake Forest, when Judge Joseph G. Kazmiersky read his verdict Friday.
Terrell said the ordeal was “pretty embarrassing’’ especially because he had to sit down and explain it to his 15-year-old son “Little Dave’’who is now a freshman at Loyola Academy High School when word of his Aug., 2013 arrest hit every news station in town.
“It’s just one of those things…You’ve got to be a man when something happens,’’ Terrell said. “There’s nothing more important than being a good parent and being there for him in every way.’’
When asked if he thinks his name has been cleared, Terrell was ambivalent.
“I really can’t worry about that. I mean I can’t say I don’t care because that’s a lie,” Terrell said. “I can only keep living and walk with my head up, and you know, being a parent. There’s certain things that you can’t worry about.”
“He was very relieved,’’ said Terrell’s attorney, Stuart V. Goldberg said Saturday of Terrell’s reaction to the verdict.
“He said: ‘You saved my life,’’’ Goldberg recalled Terrell telling him after the bench trial ended and he was found not guilty of manufacturing cannabis with intent to deliver, a felony. He was also charged with battery to police, a misdemeanor charge for which Terrell was also cleared.
Terrell is now focusing on going back to college and finishing his degree, according to Goldberg.
Kazmiersky, who presided over the bench trial, announced his verdict Friday at the Leighton Criminal Court building.
Goldberg said he made a motion to dismiss the grand jury indictment against Terrell about a month ago and demanded a trial. Goldberg contends there was no proof that Terrell possessed marijuana and that the injuries an officer received were not caused by Terrell.
“They had absolutely no facts other than a video showing him entering the building with two other men, one man carrying a black duffle bag,’’ Goldberg said.
That bag contained marijuana and Goldberg said prosecutors argued that Terrell’s “mere presence’’ at that apartment, plus him allegedly holding the door closed when the police tried to come in, were not enough to tie him to the charges, Goldberg said.
Goldberg said they there was no “scientific testing’’ of the contraband or the duffle bag to see if they had Terrell’s fingerprints on it.
Police say the officers were responding to a call of people smoking marijuana around 1:30 p.m. Friday Aug. 16 when they found Terrell and two others in an apartment in the 3900 block of South Calumet Avenue in the Bronzeville neighborhood.
Terrell was drafted by the Bears in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft, arriving from the University of Michigan. He played four seasons with the Bears as a Wide Receiver and one game with the Denver Broncos in 2005, finishing his career with 128 receptions and 9 touchdowns.
Terrell was separately charged with domestic battery in April of 2012 but the charge was dismissed later that year after the witness did not appear in court, records show.
Terrell said that though it was difficult to have to explain what happened to his son, he hopes his son will learn from it and he tried to impress on teen the value of opportunities that you are given and the importance of doing everything you can to keep those opportunities.
Terrell said he misses the gridiron but after Friday’s verdict he’s going forward with “life after football.”
“I can get back to my daily hustle, my daily grind,’’ said Terrell who renovates buildings to find affordable housing for people, a project he hopes to land a reality TV gig from.
“Nothing was as exciting as playing for the Bears,’’ Terrell said. “Nothing was more exciting than leaving the game after winning. Chicago is an awesome place.”