Gaffney will turn himself in on criminal mischief charge


Garry Smits, GateHouse Media Services

JACKSONVILLE — The lawyer for former University of Florida and Raines High football star Jabar Gaffney said his client likely turn himself in to the Duval County jail on Friday in response to an arrest warrant issued Thursday on a charge of third-degree felony criminal mischief.

Gaffney has been accused by former UF and Raines teammate Lito Sheppard of vandalizing his car June 17 in Jacksonville Beach. Sheppard claims that a man seen near his white BMW on security video shot from a restaurant he was patronizing at the time is Gaffney.

After driving several blocks, the car broke down and after having the vehicle towed, Sheppard said he was told there was $14,000 in damage to the car, a combination of a substance poured in the gas tank and the tires punctured.

Gaffney’s attorney, Seth Schwartz, said his client contends the man in the video is not him. Schwartz also questioned the $30,000 bond, which he said is “unusually high” for a third-degree felony.

The arrest warrant also noted that as a condition of release, Gaffney was to have no contact with the victim. WJXT-TV reported on Thursday that a restraining order had been against Gaffney but Schwartz said he or his client have not received an order apart from the notation on the arrest warrant.

Schwartz also said the investigating officer, Misty Dawn Kulcsar of the Jacksonville Beach Police Department, would not send him the warrant affidavit along with the arrest warrant.

“That’s unusual but we will get it eventually,” Schwartz said. “For now, we don’t know if there are any additional details other than what’s been reported in the media, that Jabar is accused of being in the security video.”

Gaffney and Sheppard, who also are cousins, played at Florida together for two seasons, 2000 and 2001. Both were drafted into the NFL and had pro careers lasting more than a decade. Sheppard made two Pro Bowls with the Philadelphia Eagles and Gaffney played with seven teams.

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


  1. I’ve read Gaffney’s claim that Sheppard had a tryst or an affair with his wife was proven false. Gaffney has led a life that at times has appeared to be outside the lines, finding his way into enough trouble over the years to indicate that he needs serious help. Best guess, and it’s no more than an experience-based hunch from having worked with such, is that his better judgment has at times been derailed by his ongoing use of pot and probably alcohol. In the rush to legalize marijuana it’s worth paying attention to the addictive and debilitating impact of the substance. It’s very much like alcoholism, destroying marriages, eroding work productivity. Legalization should also include much bigger taxpayer-based expenditures for addiction and abuse treatment strategies provided in partnership with effective private sector organizations. I’m hoping Jabbar’s family combined with law enforcement compels him to get the help he needs or this one-time Gator Great may find a sad outcome to his life and the relationships that mean the most to him.

  2. This is sad. No matter what angle you take on the matter. These guys are blood, they were great Gator players, and unfortunately it’s another tragic story of what can happen when things melt down in a family. I don’t have words, or the right, to offer an opinion. I just hope it gets better for them.