Assault charges dropped against R&B; singer Mario

The mother of R&B; singer Mario today dropped the assault charges she filed against her son in October, admitting she was intoxicated at the time.

Shawntia Hardaway, who accused the Baltimore-born performer on October 1 of assaulting her and trashing their Fells Point apartment, appeared before the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore City this afternoon and asked for the charges to be dropped. She has battled heroin addiction in the past.

Prosecutors dismissed all charges against the singer, whose full name is Mario Dewar Barrett.

Hardaway's attorney, Richard Woods, said she was upset when she filed the police report.

"It was much to do about nothing," he said. "I met with her, she told me what happened and there wasn't any criminal action on the part of Mario."

Barrett's attorney, William "Billy" Murphy Jr., said her action vindicated his client.

"It was clear from the beginning that Mario never touched or struck his mother," he said. "She was under the influence of drugs when she gave her statement to police. To her credit, she corrected her statement in court today."

Woods confirmed his client said she was intoxicated at the time of the arrest.

Mario was arrested in October and charged with one count of second-degree assault and later released after he posted a $50,000 bond.

Police were called to Hardaway's Fells Point apartment on the 900 block of Fell St. at 12:50 a.m. October 1 to respond to a "mental case" and her injuries.

She was crying, and told them Barrett had pushed her, causing "minor pain," according to a police report. Officers also found a broken china cabinet, a broken mirror, a hole in the closet door, and glass strewn across the floor.

Hardaway told police her son had struck her before. On Sept. 27, she said, he pushed her "eight feet into a living room wall, where Ms. [she]hit her head on the wall," police wrote in charging documents.

Officers asked her if she feared for her life, and Hardway replied in the affirmative, an officer wrote at the time. The report did not say what instigated the confrontation.

Murphy dismissed the accusation at the time, saying it part of Hardaway's drug addiction.

"Anyone who has waged the battle to save loved ones from the forces of drugs knows the irrational behavior that almost always accompanies their actions," he said. "Mario remains committed to supporting his mother."

Barrett, who has appeared on "Dancing with the Stars" and in the films "Freedom Writers" and "Step Up," has documented his mother's fight with drug addiction before, appearing in an MTV special called "I Won't Love You To Death: The Story of Mario and His Mom" that chronicled their relationship.

In 2007, he also opened a Baltimore-based nonprofit called Mario's Do Right Foundation that mentors the children of drug-addicted parents.

With the dropped assault charges the singer won't have to appear before the court on November 9.

He still has a court date for Nov. 16 to answer for a lawsuit three women filed in Baltimore District Court in August against him and his mother over a January accident at a parking lot. The women are seeking $20,000 each.

Murphy said the singer "remains committed to helping his mother battle her addictions."

Sun reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this article.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified attorney William "Billy" Murphy Jr. The Sun regrets the error.

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