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Sunday Morning Quarterback

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Thursday, June 29, 2006

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The week in eligibility-crippling issues - legal, academic, institutional and otherwise...

Our campus heroes were enjoying summer break and voluntary, loose, fun, come-as-you-are, no-pressure-whatsoever-man workouts in relative decency and civil behavior this week, with little to no law-breaking to found anywhere.

What the week lacked in criminal quantity, though, it made up in grisly severity: former Montana State player John LeBrum and ex-MSU basketball player Branden Miller were charged Thursday with kidnapping a cocaine dealer outside a restaurant, shooting him and dumping his body in the school's agronomy farm last week. Official charges are murder, kidnapping and destroying evidence in a murder:

According to documents filed by prosecutors, Miller told detectives that early last Friday he gave LeBrum a ride to a restaurant where Wright was dining. The two waited for Wright to come outside, then attacked him. Wright fell down, and Lebrum threw him into the back of Wright's sport utility vehicle and drove away.

Miller told authorities he drove off in a different direction in his own car.

Wright's body was found in a field on the university's Arthur Post Agronomy Farm last Friday. The 26-year-old man died of gunshot wounds, the Gallatin County coroner said. Investigators found several .40-caliber shell casings near his body.

Investigators searched Wright's apartment Sunday and found "pays and owes" sheets related to drug dealing, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported. Police said they believe Wright had been dealing cocaine.

A prosecutor's affidavit said investigators found Wright's identification and several personal items in a garbage container outside Miller's residence.

The Belgrade News reported that Miller told detectives Monday that he helped LeBrum wipe down Wright's vehicle with bleach and that they left it in Belgrade, where sheriff's deputies found it Tuesday.

The affidavit says James Clark, a former assistant basketball coach at the school, alerted detectives about a locker at the school's arena containing a bag with handguns. Clark told detectives the bag had been in Miller's possession.

One of the handguns found in the locker was the same caliber as the shell casings found near Wright's body, Gallatin County Sheriff James Cashell said Thursday during a news conference.

Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert said the investigation is ongoing, and additional people might be charged.


At least Clark - a former assistant? This happened last week, what's he doing around the locker room? - didn't go the Dave Bliss route to salvage the school's rep, already mangled, the article notes, by a 2005 rape case involving a basketball player and a 15-year-old girl and a former football assistant sentenced to four years in prison and eight on probation in 2004 for his role in a "methamphetamine distribution conspiracy."

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While their on-field/court counterparts are livin' da Thug Life in Bozeman, the NCAA's 2005 tenth-place cheerleading squad in the hip hop division proves that at least some crimes committed by Montana State students are only aesthetic

PLED, not guilty of assault in a bar brawl last weekend, teammate of the very mild-mannered Marshawn Lynch, Cal quarterback Steve Levy, who is not a generic SportsCenter anchor but is accused of hitting an employee of a San Francisco bouncer in the face with a pint glass (insert invetitable 'must have been a short thow LOL!!!' crack here, the standard of which was set by Bill Curry's - or was it Ray Perkins'? - "We know it wasn't our quarterback" when someone tossed a brick through his office window during one of the coaches' beleaguered stints at Alabama). Levy was originally released on $40,000 bail, which - as SMQ knows for reasons fortunately not related to his own or close family members' incarcerations - is an inordinately high amount for assault with a non-deadly weapon. His pre-trial hearing is July 18. Levy was suspended indefinitely immediately following the charge by Jeff Tedford, but no further word on his status as it relates to the Bears' starting job entering the fall or for the opener at Tennessee.

That's all, folks! Other than gruesome, drug-related murder, players behaved nicely this week...or were just sneaky about it?
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11:42 PM

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