CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) – Three suspended Illinois football players have been charged with burglary and aggravated robbery charges after what they say was a prank on a fellow dormitory resident.
Darta L. Lee and Howard E. Watkins, both 18, and Zarrian J. Holcombe, 19, were charged Thursday with felony residential burglary and aggravated robbery, The (Champaign) News-Gazette reported.
The three were wearing masks and dark clothing when they entered a 19-year-old man’s room about 1 a.m. Wednesday at Bromley Hall with what he thought was a gun but was a BB gun, First Assistant State’s Attorney Steve Ziegler said.
“I can say they described it as a prank or a joke,” Ziegler said. He said it’s believed Holcombe was holding the BB gun while Lee went through dresser drawers and Watkins went through the man’s wallet. Coach Lovie Smith suspended all three from team activities indefinitely.
“These allegations, if true, fail to live up to the standards we expect of our student-athletes,” Smith said. “We continue to gather information and will take appropriate steps based upon what we learn.”
The three were arrested Wednesday. None had listed phone numbers.
Lee is a 6-foot-3, 320-pound freshman offensive lineman from Fresno, Texas, who played in six games and started in two last season. Holcombe is a 6-foot-6, 220-pound sophomore tight end from Houston. Watkins, a 6-foot-5 and 280-pound offensive lineman, graduated from a Cincinnati high school early and enrolled at Illinois this semester to go through spring workouts.
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