Alaeze gets delay as links probed

Jurisprudence

February 14, 2007|By Bill Ordine | Bill Ordine,Sun Reporter

Less than five months after suiting up for the University of Illinois football team, former Randallstown High star Melvin Alaeze made a brief appearance in Baltimore District Court yesterday, where his trial for misdemeanor weapons possession charges was postponed until Feb. 27.

Those weapons charges are the result of a city traffic stop last month, but the 19-year-old Alaeze, who was once the top-rated defensive lineman recruit in the country, faces more serious accusations of attempted first-degree murder in an alleged Dec. 24 robbery in which a man was shot three times.

Rather than sporting the orange and black of the Fighting Illini, Alaeze yesterday appeared in handcuffs, wearing jeans, dark canvas shoes and a white, long-sleeve shirt over a white shell while the prosecution asked for the postponement to continue investigating whether aspects of the alleged weapons offenses in the city are related to felony charges in Baltimore County.

Alaeze remains in city jail on $500,000 bail.

The December attempted-murder charge stems from an alleged robbery at the Brookhaven apartment complex in Randallstown in which a man was wounded in the head, face and back and said he was robbed of his 1998 Buick, $400, two cell phones, keys and tennis shoes. Several days later, the man identified Alaeze, of the first block of Asgard Court in Parkville, as one of a number of assailants.

Yesterday's appearance at the John R. Hargrove Sr. District Court Building was on misdemeanor weapons charges resulting from a Jan. 12 traffic stop and subsequent arrest in the city, according to court documents.

On that day, Maryland Transit Police stopped Alaeze for making an illegal left turn, police said. They then discovered he was wanted in Baltimore County for attempted murder. Inside the Pontiac SUV being driven by Alaeze, police found behind the driver's seat a revolver with four empty .22-caliber shell casings and one bullet in the cylinder, court papers said.

Alaeze was also carrying a folding knife with a 6-inch blade, and a passenger in the SUV had a plastic baggie that contained a leafy substance suspected of being marijuana, according to charging documents. Also making a court appearance yesterday was Alaeze's passenger in the SUV, Caleece Thomas.

An All-Metro defensive end, Alaeze signed with Maryland, but that scholarship offer was withdrawn in June 2006. He then received a scholarship to Illinois, but he played in just two games there in 2006 before he left in late September for "personal reasons."

bill.ordine@baltsun.com

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