BLOG: Pilar ordered to steer clear of the Sanders mansion

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by JASON WHITELY, CYNTHIA VEGA, REBECCA LOPEZ and JONATHAN BETZ

WFAA

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 9:40 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 11:11 AM

Former Dallas Cowboys player Deion Sanders and his estranged wife, Pilar, testified under oath Monday about an alleged fight at their Prosper mansion on April 23. The judge ruled that Deion can remain in the couple's home and ordered Pilar to remain at least 500 yards away from the property. Neither was cited for family violence.

WFAA's Jason Whitely, Cynthia Vega and Rebecca Lopez report live at the scene


7:51p Deion Sanders' Twitter account just posted this message: "GOD IS SO GOOD! DON'T EVER DOUBT HIM NO MATTER HOW YOUR SITUATION LOOKS. TRUST HIM PLEASE. HE IS SO FAITHFUL."

7:20p Deion Sanders left the courthouse wheeling out a big statue that was introduced as evidence during the hearing. Clearly in a good mood, he said he was "happy," but little else. He Asked for help to lift the statue into his SUV. - Jonathan Betz, WFAA

6:44p The judge has ruled on a protective order in the Deion and Pilar Sanders case. He says Deion can remain in the couple's home and that Deion acted appropriately in "defending himself in the confrontation." He said injuries to Pilar Sanders were accidental and were the result of self-defense. The judge ruled there was no finding of family violence, but ordered Pilar to remain 500 yards away from the family's mansion in Prosper. - Jonathan Betz, WFAA

6:33p Pilar Sanders' testimony has ended. - Jonathan Betz, WFAA

6:30p Pilar Sanders doesn't remember many details about how she was able to record the altercation she had with estranged husband Deion Sanders. She said she didn't even realize it was recording. "I didn't know I turned it on," she said. An attorney for Deion Sanders said her story was a "ruse" and implied she was trying to "set up" her husband. - Jonathan Betz, WFAA

6:15p Mrs. Sanders is under cross-examination. She has said she was tempted to go to a women's shelter. Mr. Sanders' attorney points out she had a home in Celina she could live in. - Jonathan Betz, WFAA

6:05p Testimony has resumed in the case, with Pilar Sanders returning to the witness stand. - Jonathan Betz, WFAA

5:30p Court is now in recess. The judge is trying to figure out if the Sanders' children will testify this evening... the proceedings are taking longer than expected. - Jonathan Betz, WFAA

5:15p Pilar Sanders' testimony is getting tedious. Deion Sanders' attorney objects to almost every other question, which the judge sustains. Pilar keeps giving expanded answers to her attorney's questions. She is trying to paint Deion as a man who pits her kids against their mother. She says the boys and their father had a "guy code" to keep information from her. -Jonathan Betz, WFAA

4:50p Pilar Sanders admitted she has spanked her children before. She told a story of using a belt on her 10-year-old son once because he was rude to her and ignoring her. She said she "popped him on his bottom twice," but insisted he was wearing "layered clothes." She says she was a good disciplinarian, unlike her husband, who she said would leave the children alone in the mansion unsupervised. - Jonathan Betz, WFAA

4:22p Pilar Sanders is showing photos of her bloody right hand and thumb allegedly as result of an altercation with Deion Sanders. She says her thumb was crushed and 'exploded with matter.' She said her nail was ripped off, insisting it was not a "cosmetic" nail. Pilar Sanders added she was also bruised on her back, neck and shoulders. - Jonathan Betz, WFAA

3:59p Pilar Sanders testified she did not know she was making a recording of the April 23rd encounter with Deion Sanders. When questioned by his attorney, Rick Robertson, Pilar appeared not to know much about the device including where she got it, the brand or if there were any other recordings on it. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

3:46p Pilar testified that Deion "was just so past angry. He was screaming." Pilar said she was in "fear for her life." He was swinging and hitting me with the statue outside his room, she continued. "Then I heard Deanna [Boswell] scream and he was off of me." - Jason Whitely, WFAA

3:41p Pilar gave details of what she said Deion did to her on April 23 after she called him a b***h. "He immediately opened up [his bedroom] door and rushed me like he was running through a tunnel," Pilar said. "Without hesitation or anything he grabs my throat, picks me up off the ground and slams me - drives me into the glass doors behind me. I start trying to hit him in his face to let me go. I can't breathe," she continued. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

3:34p "Deion was waving his hands saying 'Get out of my room' as if I were a dog," Pilar told the court. "He pulled out his phone and began to taunt me with it like he was going to record [the argument]," she added. Pilar was secretly recording the encounter as well. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

3:30p Pilar said she entered Deion's bedroom and his master bathroom to see her 10-year-old son she said she had not seen in four days because Deion took him out of state without permission. "I wanted to see my baby," Pilar testified.  - Jason Whitely, WFAA

3:26p While getting her 8-year-old daughter ready to leave the house on April 23, Pilar said she overheard her 10-year-old son's voice on the home's intercom. It was the first time she had seen him in four days, Pilar testified. The mother of three became emotional and dabbed at tears while recounting the story that led to the fight. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

3:21p After reporting her 10-year-old son missing because Deion had taken him out of town, Pilar testified she went to the U.S. Post Office to get a Change of Address form. Pilar told the court she planned to move to a shelter for abused women. Her attorney, Larry Friedman, asked why. "It had gotten unbearable at the house," Pilar testified. "Deion had tried so many things to make it very, very bad and for me to leave. They last straw was [him] using my children." - Jason Whitely, WFAA

2:52p Pilar Sanders testified their children were "afraid of their father" and did not want to play sports for him anymore. Why? Pilar testified that Deion would get "very, very mad and get violent." During sporting events the Sanders boys participated in, he would embarrass them in front of the entire team and the field if they missed a ball. Pilar also said Deion has hit his children with sports balls, a belt and a paddle. Deion did testify that he spanked his children. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

2:45p Pilar Sanders testified that Deion cut off her credit card in January leaving her unable to buy food. After filing for divorce, Deion separated their two boys from the younger sister, Pilar told the court. Deion would even give the children the court motions and divorce papers from our lawyers, she continued. "[Deion] told me that if I would stop going to the media and stop saying the things I was saying in my motions, that he would give us a house," Pilar testified. "But that wasn't true." - Jason Whitely, WFAA

2:41p Pilar Sanders testified that Deion first gave her divorce papers in their garage as she was going to get her children from school on September 22, 2011. Pilar testified that Deion said "I just can't do this anymore. Here are the papers. You can have everything.'" - Jason Whitely, WFAA

2:36p The hearing resumed from a brief recess. Pilar Sanders just took the stand breaking her silence about what happened between her and Deion Sanders at their Prosper home on April 23. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

2:26p The court is in a 10 minute recess. Next on the stand: Pilar Sanders. She will break her silence for the first time. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

2:12p Deanna Boswell said she went to the Sanders home on April 23 to take Pilar and her three children to a shelter for abused women. After the fight broke out between Deion Sanders and his estranged wife, he admitted destroying Boswell's mobile phone because she was making a video recording of it. "When you heard the screams [of Pilar], why didn't you call 911 instead of taking video," asked Rick Robertson, Deion's attorney. "I wasn't trying to call 911. I was trying to get evidence," Boswell responded. Minutes later, Robertson asked "What women's shelter were you going to take her to?" Boswell could not provide specifics. "I'm not sure," she said, "I was just going to ride with her." - Jason Whitely, WFAA

2:01p Deanna Boswell recounted she saw Deion Sanders pick up a statue and strike Pilar with it after carrying her out of his room. During her time on the stand, Deion Sanders re-entered the courtroom pushing a Dolly to wheel in a six-foot tall black and gold statue of a woman holding a jug on her head. Rick Robertson, Deion's attorney, asked Boswell to step off the witness stand and walk over and try to lift it. Boswell just struggled to lift the tall statue and agreed with Robertson that it is possibly in excess of 70 lbs. Robertson is trying to show that it was too heavy and cumbersome for Deion to pick up and use as a weapon. Deion testified that Pilar kicked it down as he carried her out of his room. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

1:35p After four and a half hours, Deion Sanders is done on the witness stand. Deanna Boswell, Pilar Sanders' long-time friend who Deion admittedly pushed down when she raised her mobile phone to record the husband and wife arguing is taking the stand now. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

1:15p No one outside the courtroom will hear the audio of the fight between Mr. and Mrs. Sanders. An attorney for Deion Sanders and another attorney representing the Sanders' three children objected to the release of Pilar's audio recording of the April 23 fight that led to the request for protective orders by both adults against each other. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

1:08p Testimony resumed after lunch. Larry Friedman, Pilar's attorney, finished cross-examination with a few questions poking more holes in Deion Sanders' statements.

FRIEDMAN: You told Good Morning America you never touched Mrs. Sanders. Is that true.

DEION SANDERS: Yes sir.

FRIEDMAN: But that's not the truth. You did touch her.

DEION SANDERS: Yes sir.

FRIEDMAN: You told TMZ you would never touch a woman. But that's not the truth because you did touch Mrs. Sanders on April 23, 2012.

DEION SANDERS: Yes sir.

Re-direct examination by Rick Robertson is underway now. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

11:59a Judge Ray Wheless is taking a one-hour lunch break. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

11:27a An audio recording of the April 23 argument between Deion and Pilar Sanders was just played in court that challenges some of Deion’s testimony and provides the first clear picture of the fight that led to the dramatic hearing underway right now.

The recording lasted 26-minutes and begins with the sound of a piano playing. Pilar said it was the piano instructor playing. But Deion maintains that the piano instructor was not even in the house that day. Deion insists the person playing the piano was one of his sons.
 
On the recording, Pilar sounds calm when asking to see her 10-year-old son at Deion’s bedroom door.
 
“I can’t let you in,” the couple’s 12-year-old was heard saying.
 
“I’m not asking you to let me in,” Pilar said without raising her voice. “I’m not going to go in. Can you open the door? I give you my word.”
 
The children sounded torn between the mother and father and were upset at their fights.
 
The 12-year-old said his little brother was not going to come see his mother despite her pleas.
 
“I’m his mother and this is the last time,” Pilar told the 12-year-old. “Tell him to come here and stop disrespecting me, his mother.”
 
Deion can then be heard calmly saying “Please get out of my room.”
 
“Shut up,” Pilar responded to Deion. “You don’t walk away with my kids! You hear me? They’re my kids. You want to kidnap my sons?! I have not seen them since Friday!”
 
Deion kept repeating “please get out of my room.”
 
“Shut up!,” she said.
 
On the stand, Deion shook his head up and down as if he remembered it.
 
“I don’t care about your daddy,” Pilar told the 12-year-old as he pleaded with her to leave him alone. “He means nothing to me. I’m trying to be very nice. This is still my house.”
 
“You’re the king of lies, Mr. Cheater!,” Pilar continued. “And you’re going to have my kids around the person you’re cheating with? You kidding me?!,” she exclaimed.
 
“Let me see my sons, please!,” Pilar continued. “I want to see my son that you kidnapped for three days. You did not have sole custody of him. You cannot do this,” Pilar said.
 
Deion again repeated calmly to Pilar to leave his room.
 
“Shut up b***h!,” Pilar said.
 
No sooner did she say that than Pilar began screaming. Her legal team said her reply set him off and in reality she did not leap at him but he attacked her.
 
It sounded as if a commotion or fight might have been underway. Pilar was screaming.
 
“GET OUT OF MY ROOM!,” Deion yelled. “GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!”

“You’re such a little b***h,” she added as Deion screamed back at her.
 
“You’re a sad excuse for a man,” Pilar told him.
 
“Get out of my house, please,” Deion continued.
 
“Stop!” she said.
 
Deion sounded like he lost his temper.
 
“This ain’t no man!,” Pilar told her oldest son about his father.
 
Moments later, Prosper police officers arrived at the house and separated Deion and Pilar.
 
“What is going on?,” a concerned policeman asked Pilar after taking her outside their residence and ordering she not go back in until officers could determine what happened.
 
“He continues to run his mouth,” she told police.
 
Then police asked “whose blood is that?
 
“Mine!,” Pilar responded.
 
Deion testified he never saw any blood and Prosper police admitted they mishandled it.
 
Last Thursday, an officer testified he saw the blood but never got around to photographing or testing it as evidence before an unknown person still in the residence cleaned it up.
 
On the recording, loud voices could be heard inside the house where police are with Deion Sanders.
 
“I was raising my voice to the police because I was very upset,” Deion testified after the recording. “I just told you guys,” Deion recounted in his conversation with police. “‘What is it going to take? Me and my sons to die around here before ya’ll do something,’”.
 
During cross-examination, Deion Sanders said he has never cheated on his wife or committed adultery during his marriage to Pilar. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

10:39a Pilar Sanders appeared emotional as the audio recording began playing. Her attorney, Larry Friedman, put his arm around her and patted her on the back. She wiped at her eyes. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

10:29a Pilar Sanders' attorney just revealed she had an audio recorder on her during the entire April 23 argument. The tape is playing in court right now. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

10:20a Pilar Sanders leapt at Deion during the April 23 argument, he told the court. Deion testified he grabbed her before she could hurt him. Deion Sanders' testimony is calm and polite on the witness stand, responding with "yes sir" and "no sir" to his wife's attorney during cross-examination. "I'm not a yeller," Deion added when asked whether he ever raised his voice at his estranged wife. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

10:14a Deion Sanders testified he "very much so" filed for divorce from Pilar but never read through his divorce petition filed with the court. It prohibits him from taking his children out of state with written permission from the court or Pilar. Still, Deion Sanders confirmed he took his two sons, ages 12 and 10, to Oklahoma twice, New York and Puerto Rico without his estranged wife's permission. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

9:59a Deion Sanders just played an audio recording of the April 23 fight between him and Pilar that led to this hearing on the protective orders. In the brief recording on Deion's mobile phone, he repeatedly told his estranged wife "Please get out of my room." Pilar responded "I am not going to leave without my son." The recording lasted about :30-seconds. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

9:34a As cross-examination of Deion Sanders begins, Larry Friedman, Pilar's attorney, pointed out that the former NFL star is not wearing a tie in court. "Did you wear a tie when you were inducted to the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame?," Friedman asked as court resumed. "Yes sir," Deion replied. His attorney, Rick Robertson objected that Friedman's question was argumentative and irrelevant. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

9:11a
After an hour on the witness stand, attorneys for Deion Sanders have completed their questioning of him. Court is in a 15-minute break. Cross-examination begins at 9:30a. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

9:09a Deion Sanders testified he and his estranged wife Pilar have been sleeping in separate bedrooms since February 5, 2011. "How large is your house?," Deion's attorney asked him. "It's comfortable," Deion testified. "Do you have any idea how many square feet it is," the attorney persisted. "No sir," Deion said. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

8:56a Recalling April 23, Deion Sanders testified Pilar was angry and came into his room looking for the couple's 10-year-old son. Deion said she would not leave his room after repeated requests and after he called 911. "I stepped out and said 'Please get out of my room and she leaped towards me,'" Deion testified. "I grabbed her, turned her around and pinned her arms down by her side and picked her up and walked her out of the room," he continued. Deion said he never hit Pilar. She was kicking in the air as he carried her out, Deion said. Pilar kicked down the statue outside his room, he added. When her childhood friend Deanna Boswell came around the corner with a mobile phone he pushed her down onto Pilar, Deion said. Then the former Dallas Cowboys football star said he crushed Deanna Boswell's phone out of anger. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

8:33a Deion Sanders testified that his estranged wife, Pilar, cursed and mistreated their 10-year-old son. Deion said he went to their sons school on April 20 and told the principal he didn't want Pilar to pick up their sons. "I was really afraid things had escalated. It was very volatile. And I just felt in my spirit something was going to happen," Deion Sanders told the court. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

8:16a Deion Sanders is called to the witness stand to testify. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

8:00a
This is the third day of testimony in the Deion and Pilar Sanders protective hearings requests. Six witnesses have testified. Sixteen more are on the list. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

7:58a Deion arrives first again this morning, and alone. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

7:49a No sign of the Sanders family yet! - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

7:20a Photographers gathering at the Collin County Courthouse for the #Deion Sanders hearing. He testifies this morning. Hearing begins at 8a. - Jason Whitely, WFAA

6:45a Today's testimony is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. at the 366th District Court of the Collin County Courthouse in McKinney. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

6:30a After hearing from Pilar and Deion, the judge says he wants to speak to their three young children ages 12, 10 and 8 privately in his chambers. After that, the judge says he will hear final arguments. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA


FRIDAY

NOON The Sanders' family piano instructor tearfully testified Deion threatened her moments before she walked into the courtroom. Dr. Lisa Thomas tearfully testified Deion told her, "I'm going to get you today" as she walked past him in the hallway. His attorney said Deion said, "I can't believe they're going to call her as a witness today."  Pilar's attorney calls it witness tampering. The judge says the matter will have to be referred to a grand jury.

Thomas also testified about seeing and hearing the tail-end of the couple's fight the afternoon of April 23, when she had arrived to give piano lessons to the children at the family's Prosper home. Thomas said from just inside the front door, she heard glass breaking, Deion yelling "Get out of my house" and then Pilar saying "Deion, I know you're doing stuff. It's not right."

Thomas said she stayed in her car in the driveway as police arrived, finding it hard to believe they never asked her for a statement. She said she watched as the two Prosper police officers refused to let Pilar back in the house, separated her from her friend, Dee Boswell, and then went inside with Deion.

As Thomas left the Collin County Courthouse today, she spoke to the media, saying she is very fond of both Deion and Pilar and that they're both good parents. She also said she wishes "they would kiss and make-up and get back together." - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

11:15a The Sanders' piano teacher says Deion threatened her moments before she came into the courtroom to testify. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

9:50a Court proceedings began with judge extending gag order. Now, Pilar, Deion and witnesses cannot communicate about Sanders' criminal case. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

9:43a Piano teacher says she heard Pilar and Deion fighting April 23, with Deion yelling "get out of my house." She said she heard Pilar finally say, "Deion, I know you've done stuff. This is not right." She also stated that she stayed in driveway, saw police arrive and was surprised they never wanted to talk to her. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

9:40a Judge orders break. First to testify today, the piano teacher for the Sanders' family for the last nine years. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

8:07a Pilar arrives with her arm still in a brace and surrounded by lawyers. She has no comment. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

8a Deion's first wife Carolyn arrives saying Deion's a good dad to their kids. They "love him to death," she said. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

7:50a First to arrive this morning? Deion accompanied by two pre-teen boys. The two boys are 14 and 15 and Deion was their football coach. Both testified yesterday, they said. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

7:48a 20 minutes until start time, but the only people here so far? The media! - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

6:48a Two hours and counting before day two of testimony in Deion and Pilar Sanders hearing. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA


THURSDAY

4p
Sanders hearing expected to take two days. Police revealed there is nothing on the memory card from Pilar Sanders' friend's phone. - Rebecca Lopez, WFAA

3:22p Criminal Mischief charges have been filed against Deion Sanders. Collin County officials said in a news release that this is a result of the investigation. He was not arrested.

1:12p The representative for the couple's three children described the family home as a combat zone,  saying the three children have been dragged into the divorce and are suffering emotionally and struggling in school.

The representative for the children said Deion and Pilar must live apart immediately. He also asked the judge to interview the children separately behind closed doors given that they are now considered witnesses in the divorce proceedings. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

NOON Pilar's lawyers say problems in the marriage began with Deion's infidelities, which they claim started early in their marriage. They also claimed the former Cowboys player has been an absent father, saying when he is around, his focus is on his two boys. The lawyers said he recently took only the two boys out of school to take them to the NFL draft in New York.

Deion's attorneys claimed Pilar has been physically abusive with her children, especially their middle child, age 10. They said Pilar disciplined the child with a belt recently. They also said she has frequently been responsible for making the children as late as an hour to school.

The representative for the three children said they have been living in a "combat zone." He said the young girl has been sleeping in a locked room with her mother and the two young boys have been sleeping in locked rooms in another area of the house with Deion. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

11:38a A representative for the Sanders' 3-young children says they've been living in a combat zone. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

11:31a Wait until you hear how lawyers describe life inside the Sanders' home this past year. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

10:26a There are at least a dozen attorneys for The Sanders. - Rebecca Lopez, WFAA

10:21a Attorneys and judge discussing what will and will not be heard in court today. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

10:20a Pilar is wearing a brace supporting her bandaged right hand. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

9:57a Pilar Sanders just arrived to court. Her attorney says they aren't talking because they're obeying court gag order. - Rebecca Lopez, WFAA

9:51a Prosper Police detectives arrive to testify in Sanders' hearing. No comment. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

9:42a Deion's quote "report it like you would the Super Bowl" - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

9:40a Deion is here. Says he wants us to report what we hear in courtroom. "Everything" he says. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

9:30a Media gathers for Sanders hearing at Collin County Courthouse. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

9a At the Collin Co. Courthouse awaiting Deion and Pilar Sanders for 10 am hearing. - Cynthia Vega, WFAA

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