By BRIAN MELLEY
LOS ANGELES (AP) Former NFL star Darren Sharper’s tour of shame and punishment reaches its conclusion Tuesday in the courthouse where he first admitted drugging and raping women in four states.
The sentencing in Los Angeles Superior Court marks the end of prosecutions that unmasked the popular former all-pro safety and Super Bowl champ as a serial rapist.
Sharper, 41, who told a federal judge in Louisiana that he wanted to “apologize a thousand times,” will have one more opportunity for contrition, but it will have little bearing on his punishment.
Under the terms of a plea deal negotiated with prosecutors in four states, Sharper will be sentenced to a term that would require about eight more years behind bars. But that term was superseded by the New Orleans federal judge who rejected it as too lenient and sentenced him to 18 years in prison.
He has appealed the harsher federal sentence.
Sharper was working as an NFL network analyst when women in several cities began telling police they had blacked out while drinking with him and woke up groggy to discover they had been sexually assaulted.
Sharper’s arrest also came as the NFL was dealing with off-field problems with players accused of crimes ranging from spousal abuse to murder.
Sharper retired from the league in 2011 after a 14-year career with the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings and, finally, in New Orleans with the Saints, where he won a Super Bowl.
Lawyers for Sharper had vigorously disputed the charges before he abruptly gave up his defense in March 2015 on the eve of a preliminary hearing to decide if the Los Angeles case would go to trial.
From the Los Angeles courtroom, Sharper appeared by video-conferencing in a Phoenix courtroom and pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting one woman and trying to attack another in suburban Phoenix in 2013.
An hour later, he pleaded no contest to drugging and raping two women he picked up at a West Hollywood bar on two occasions in late 2013 and early 2014.
The next day, he pleaded guilty via video to a reduced felony attempted sex assault charge for a Las Vegas case.
He later pleaded guilty in Louisiana to federal charges of drugging women so he could rape them and state charges to three counts of rape.