Alaeze pleads guilty to assault

Lawyer: Gun charges likely to be dropped

May 10, 2007|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN REPORTER

Former Randallstown High football star Melvin Alaeze pleaded guilty to first-degree assault yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court in connection with a December incident in which a man was allegedly robbed and shot three times.

Sentencing has not been scheduled, and neither the prosecutor nor the defense attorney would reveal the recommended terms of Alaeze's plea agreement. He still faces gun possession charges in a case that was moved from Baltimore District Court in February. But Alaeze's attorney, Kevin B. Kamenetz, said he expects those charges to be dropped as part of the agreement.

The maximum sentence for first-degree assault is 25 years in prison.

Alaeze, 19, did not speak at yesterday's hearing other than to tell Judge John G. Turn- bull II that he understood the terms of the agreement. Alaeze's family attended, but Kamenetz said they did not want to make a statement.

Alaeze was arrested Jan. 13, about three weeks after an incident at the Brookhaven apartment complex in Randallstown, according to court records. Speaking to police four days after he had been treated at Northwest Hospital Center for gunshot wounds to the back of the head, back and near the left eye, a man identified Alaeze as one of his assailants, charging documents said.

The man told police that on the morning of Dec. 24, he met Alaeze on the basketball court at the apartment complex in the 8600 block of Bramble Lane and during a conversation, an unknown male grabbed and forced him into a vacant apartment.

In the apartment, the man said, he was robbed of $400, two cell phones, keys, his tennis shoes and his 1998 Buick. He was lying face down on the floor when he heard two gunshots and felt something hit him in the back of his head, police said.

When the man tried to get up twice, he was shot near his left eye and then in the back, police said. He fled the apartment, and a passerby on nearby Liberty Road took him to the hospital.

Alaeze was charged with attempted murder, armed robbery and related offenses in connection with the incident.

The misdemeanor gun possession charges stem from a Jan. 12 traffic stop. Police found a revolver with four empty .22-caliber shell casings and one bullet in the cylinder behind the driver's seat of the SUV that Alaeze was driving, court papers said.

Alaeze was The Sun's All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year for 2004 and was regarded as one of the best defensive end prospects in the country. He originally accepted a scholarship offer to play at Maryland, but the school withdrew that offer, saying Alaeze had violated the terms of his financial aid agreement. At the time, sources close to the situation said marijuana charges against Alaeze and his inability to reach a qualifying SAT score were factors in Maryland's decision.

Before the 2006 football season, Alaeze enrolled at the University of Illinois. He was later suspended for missing classes, the Chicago Tribune reported. On Oct. 1, Illinois revoked his scholarship, citing "personal reasons."

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