Mike McIntyre, Winnipeg Free Press -- Dustin Byfuglien has resolved his criminal trial in much the same way he's becoming known for playing hockey -- leaving a trail of mystery, debate and controversy in his wake.
The talented but sometimes frustrating Winnipeg Jets defenceman walked into a downtown Minneapolis courthouse Monday morning expecting to begin a week-long jury trial. But he skated out of danger less than an hour later, courtesy of a last-minute plea bargain that leaves many questions unanswered, including what prompted authorities to believe he was boating while impaired last summer.
Byfuglien pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour charge of careless boating, which pertains only to the fact he didn't have proper lighting on his boat when stopped by police last summer. He was given a $1,000 fine and 30-day jail sentence, of which 28 days were suspended and two days converted to community service work. In exchange, prosecutors dropped more serious charges of impaired boating and refusing a blood or urine test.
The suspended time would only be revisited if Byfuglien re-offends during that period.