Sheppard accuses former UF teammate of vandalizing his car

Former Minnesota Vikings and Florida Gators cornerback Lito Sheppard during the NFL team's training camp in 2010. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

By Garry Smits
GateHouse Media Services

JACKSONVILLE — The attorney for Jabar Gaffney said his client told him he had nothing to do with incident last week in Jacksonville Beach in which former Raines High and University of Florida teammate Lito Sheppard accused him and an unidentified woman of vandalizing his car and causing around $14,000 in damage.

Sheppard also told police that he and Gaffney have had a personal dispute dating back six years.

“Jabar said he is not the person involved,” said Seth Adam Schwartz of the Schwartz Law Group. “He said he hasn’t even seen Lito in three years and he’s very aggravated that his name is coming up in this. He doesn’t know why this is happening.”

Sheppard reported to Jacksonville Beach police that he was driving home after eating at the Pier Cantina restaurant last Monday. His BMW developed trouble after going only three blocks and he had to stop and have it towed. It was discovered that an unknown substance had been poured into the gas tank and the tires puctured.

Sheppard, according to the police report, went back to the restaurant and was allowed to view its security video. Sheppard then identified Gaffney pouring the substance into his gas tank and an unidentified woman puncturing the tires.

No arrests have been made as of Saturday and Schwartz said police have yet to contact his client for his side of the story.

As far as the restaurant’s security video is concerned, Schwartz said Gaffney said, “it’s not him.”

Gaffney also has a misdemeanor drug possession charge pending of not more than 20 grams of marijuana stemming from a June 6 incident in which police discovered the substance on Gaffney during their response to another incident.

According to the police report, Gaffney was a witness to the incident, which Schwartz said involved a woman who was intent on hurting herself, which Gaffney helped stop by calling 911 and then following the woman on foot as she drove away.

Schwartz said first responders reached the woman before she could harm herself. He declined to describe the nature of any relationship between Gaffney and the woman.

The police report said Gaffney asked for a ride home but the officer told him he would have to empty his pockets and put the contents in a paper bag before he would allow him in the patrol car.

The officer noted in his report that Gaffney hesitated and he then saw a bulge in Gaffney’s right pocket of his cargo shorts. He asked Gaffney to produce the contents, which was identified as marijuana.

Gaffney pleaded not guilty on June 13 and a trial date has been set for July 2.

Schwartz said the police report is inaccurate.

“They asked Jabar to step into the police car to take his statement, then said they had to pat him down before he did,” Schwartz said. “They found a small amount of marijuana. For helping them save this girl’s life, he gets an NTA (notice to appear). He was trying to do the right thing.”

Gaffney has pleaded no contest and paid small fines for two previous misdemeanor marijuana charges, in 2006 and 2017. He also was arrested on Sept. 27, 2017 on domestic battery charges but the state attorney decided not to prosecute four days before a scheduled Oct. 31 arraignment date.

Garry Smits is a sports writer with the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville.


    • I read this early this morning somewhere else; it was confusing then, and even more confusing now. BMWs typically have run flat tires, so that wouldn’t have gotten his attention. However, that engine won’t run with anything but premium grade, let alone sugar or something else. So Lito says he ID’d him on tape as the guy, and he says no. Guess we wait; in the meantime, we all probably have other fish to fry.

  1. Jabbar has repeatedly put or found himself in compromising or questionable circumstance. To borrow from an old Bob Dylan song, “When will (he) ever learn?” He seems to have a life pattern of making poor choices. Wonder how much earning power and life satisfaction it’s cost him over his years since Steve Spurrier had enough of him, then gave him another chance? I think most all of us would like the see Mr. Gaffney choose the better way and enjoy the better life.

  2. Gaffney is the same dumbazz kid he was out of high school. Here, he was busy stealing stuff out of the opponents locker rooms during games, now he’s jacking his long-time Gator bud by screwing up his car. Jabar needs to spend some time behind bars. Hopeless.

    • Tunaboat. Last time I checked, this is still the United State of America and people are innocent until proven guilty. Or has that part of the Constitution also gone out the window since the last election?

        • Nothing political, or it should not be, about very young children being separated from their parents in caged-in concentration camp type environments in the United States of America, regardless of how one feels about the immigration issue or ones party affiliation. But such is immoral in my opinion, and certainly un-American when you read the U.S. Constitution or any religious book one chooses to read.

          • Tampa: I get it now. You are a flaming liberal. Do some research. This was happening way before Trump. I agree something needs to be done. Such as build the wall and all the downstream stuff such as separations no longer occur.

        • Of course it’s not political when you say it, it just is when anyone else does. Lets see….your words….something about being taught at UF, “not to state opinions as facts”?

          Well, my comments were just a little humorous jab anyway, based on your previous admonishment for me not to mention the NRA since it was “political”. If you’re going to get your bowels in an uproar, forget I even said it. It’s truly a mouse turd even you would not want to pole vault over.

          And in more Gator sports news………….

          • Gator. No, you didn’t and don’t “get it”. Being liberal or conservative has nothing to do with separating kids from their parents. But it does have something to do with ignorance and a lack of decent treatment of humanity (inhuman behavior by our own government to inept governmental polices and lack of sensible action for decades). And I am a moderate republican and a Kasich voter and supporter. And Obama’s approach to immigration was inept as well, but the blame mainly goes to the extremism left or right in our current government, and a government that best serves itself vs the people.

          • Gator 6. The NRA is 100 percent a political organization with its goals and objectives aimed at politically protecting (with its abundance of lobby money and campaign donation funds) and benefiting the gun manufacturing industry, while using the 2nd amendment to motivate gun owners and buyers to support their main purpose (that is clear as day when the sun is shining). The separation of kids from parents is not in itself political, but it is certainly un-American to this country’s core beliefs and morals. And my bowels are just fine. It is my heart that is saddened by what is happening within our southern border. And my post was not political. But it was very heart felt, based on my moral (not political) outrage.

            And, ps. I fully support the 2nd amendment. But I also do not think the government is going to take my guns from me if they make common sense laws about guns, particularly AR-15 type gun laws. But I fully understand that the NRA wants everyone to think that will happen if common sense prevails (which it never does). And that last comment IS and was political in nature. Thank you.

          • Wow. Well, as an Endowment Life Member, consider me “told off”. Or, at the very least, “enlightened”, presuming that I was in the dark to begin with.

            Funny thing is, I really would like to engage in a rational discussion c you about these and other topics, but this is, of course, not the place to do it. I’ll give you my email address if you want it, I’m sure if I authorized him to, Arnold would release it to you. What say you?

  3. And why is this even a story on the sports page? Neither one of these people even play for UF any longer, and this has nothing to do with sports. ????????????????? Meanwhile, there are tons of current and former Florida players doing wonderful things worthy of being on this page. Go get one of those stories, GS staff.

  4. TampaGator, To be honest I’d rather read about “former” players than current ones. In the past 4 or 5 years by now we have stories of current players doing drugs, accused of sexual assault, using stolen credit cards ext…. so far it’s been quite (knock on wood) and just this week alone there have been plenty of “puff” pieces on the current team, thief mind set, and what their doing but you also blasted those pieces as meaningless. You can’t have it both ways here…… I know what you mean about this not being a story but again this is much better than the past alternative.

    • G*rusmc1976. That story you referenced was meaningless filler, repetitive, and boring; meant only to get hits on this site. I think GS can do better and I stated that (I do not deem it as bashing anyone). And this story, in my opinion, has no business being on here either (but probably on here for the same reason as the other).

      • Gator 6. Yes, I go around all the time giving total strangers on the internet my email address (especially those with deep love affairs with guns). And I doubt Arnold or anyone else associated with Gatorsports would encourage anyone to do so. But he and they can speak for themselves.

        • Well, so be it. Can’t think of any other way to avoid doing it on here and upsetting everyone else, guess it’s a nonstarter then.

          For the record, I’ve never had sex with a gun. I am though from a part of Florida where men are men and the sheep are usually quite nervous. But that’s another topic anyway.

          Keep your powder dry.