Charges reduced against UF basketball players
Published: Monday, May 9, 2011 at 9:39 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, May 9, 2011 at 9:39 a.m.
Erik Murphy and Cody Larson will not face third-degree felony burglary charges for allegedly trying to break into a car last month in St. Augustine.
The State Attorney's office on Monday reduced charges against Murphy and Larson to second-degree misdemeanor criminal trespass. A court date has not been set for Murphy and Larson to enter a plea. Sentences for a second-degree misdemeanor can range from a maximum of six months in jail to fines and probation.
Shannon Peters, a spokesperson for the State Attorney's 7th judicial circuit which covers St. John's County, said the decision to reduce the charges came after reviewing the evidence and interviews with the parties involved in the case.
"They have paid restitution to the victims to get a headlight fixed," Peters said. "The charges reflect that they tried to go into another person's car without permission."
St. Augustine police arrested Larson and Murphy on third-degree felony burglary charges April 10. According to arrest records, Murphy and Larson were spotted by witnesses across the street from Scarlett O'Hara's bar trying to break into the car of one of the bar employees.
Murphy and Larson had come into Scarlett O'Hara's Bar shortly after it was closed saying they had lost a wallet.
In addition, charges against men's basketball manager Joshua Adel were dropped. Police charged Adel, a Gainesville native, with principal to felony burglary.
"He was charged as being the lookout when the evidence showed that wasn't the case," Peters said. "He was, in fact, discouraging them."
Despite the charges being reduced, UF team spokesman Denver Parler said Murphy and Larson remain suspended from the program indefinitely. The 6-foot-10 Murphy averaged 4.3 points and 2.3 rebounds off the bench as a sophomore last season while shooting a team-high 40 percent from 3-point range. Larson red-shirted last season as a true freshman.
Larson is on two years probation after reaching a plea deal on a misdemeanor drug charge. Larson shared prescribed painkillers with a friend in Sioux Falls, S.D., during his senior year in high school.
Prosecutors in Sioux Falls, S.D., said they are taking a wait-and-see approach to determine what, if any punishment, Larson will receive for violating terms of his probation. Prosecutors said Larson could serve up to 120 days of a suspended sentence he received for the initial misdemeanor drug charge.
"We're going to wait until they actually enter a plea and receive their sentence before deciding whether to file a motion to revoke," Minnehaha (S.D) County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan said."We're going to look at how they're held accountable before making up our mind. If a motion is filed, it's up to the discretion of the court as far as imposing the sentence."
In a 34-minute squad car recording shortly after the arrest, Murphy was heard concocting different stories and excuses in an attempt to get charges against them dropped. "They don’t have anything on us, we're going to get off," Murphy said during the recording.
Murphy, Larson and Adel were unaware that their conversations were being recorded.
Contact Kevin Brockway at 352-374-5054 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Brockway's blog at Gatorsports.com.
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