Former QU men’s basketball player to attend domestic violence education program

Cat Murphy, News Editor

Former Quinnipiac University men’s basketball player Dezmond “Dezi” Jones will enter a domestic violence education program after Hamden police arrested him in March 2023 for choking his then-girlfriend with a pillow.

Connecticut Superior Court Judge John F. Riley Jr. on June 1 ordered Jones to complete the Family Violence Education Program, an education course that enables some first-time domestic violence offenders to resolve their charges.

Hamden police arrested Jones on March 28 on disorderly conduct and third-degree strangulation charges. Police arrested Ava Librizzi, another Quinnipiac student with whom Jones was in a relationship at the time, on a disorderly conduct charge approximately 30 minutes later, according to an arrest log obtained by the Chronicle.

Third-degree strangulation is a Class A misdemeanor in Connecticut and carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Disorderly conduct is a Class C misdemeanor that can carry up to three months in jail and a fine of up to $500.

However, upon his completion of the program in February 2024, the court will dismiss Jones’ two misdemeanor charges.

“As you may be aware, sir, if the program is granted and is successful, the matter against you will be dismissed,” Riley told Jones before granting him admission to the program. “Otherwise, it’s back, and it’s prosecuted.”

According to a Hamden Police Department report obtained by the Chronicle, Librizzi slapped Jones awake at approximately 8 a.m. on March 28 upon discovering that he “was cheating on her.”

Librizzi told police at the time that Jones “kept telling her to be quiet” before proceeding to “put a pillow over her face so that she could no longer yell.”

Upon fighting to get him off of her, Jones pushed Librizzi to the ground and “began to choke her to the point she could not breathe,” she said.

When Librizzi attempted to pack her belongings to leave, Jones pushed her to the floor and resumed choking her, hitting her head against the floor in the process.

The Hamden police officer investigating the matter only spoke with Jones after attempting to call him “numerous times,” leaving a voicemail and speaking with his mother, per the police report. The investigator noted in the report that Jones “appeared to be reading from a written statement.”

Jones told police that Librizzi punched him three times and caused bleeding. Although the investigator requested that Jones send him a picture of the injury, the officer wrote that he had not yet received a text when he typed the report. 

According to the report, Jones said he restrained Librizzi and put his hands around her neck “to have her stop being physical.”

“Jones stated he realized he was squeezing too hard and stopped,” the report stated, noting that Jones said he was acting out of self-defense.

Jones also told the investigator that Librizzi threw his Xbox across the room and poured juice on his bed, after which he “put his arms around Librizzi to put her on the ground, and in the process Librizzi hit her head.”

Jones played guard for the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team for two seasons before entering the transfer portal after the 2022-23 season.

Four days before being arrested, the Hannibal, Missouri, native announced his intention to continue his collegiate basketball career at Austin Peay State University. 

Cody Bush, assistant director of athletics for strategic communications and branding at Austin Peay, told the Chronicle on March 31 that Jones had not yet “signed a financial aid agreement or applied for admission.” 

However, Scott Carlson, Jones’ attorney, revealed in court that the 21-year-old is enrolled as a graduate student and a student-athlete at the Clarksville, Tennessee, school. 

In a June 1 statement to the Chronicle, Bush wrote that university officials “are monitoring the situation.”

“We are aware of the allegations surrounding Dezi Jones,” Bush wrote. “However, since it is an active legal case we have no comment at this time.”