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Judge: Evidence Lacking in UNC Football Players Assault Case

Posted January 4, 2008

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— A judge on Friday threw out more than half of the charges filed in connection with an alleged assault on three University of North Carolina football players last month.

The rulings by District Judge Alonzo Coleman don't preclude Orange County prosecutors from presenting the charges to a grand jury for indictment. Prosecutors said late Friday that they would review the case next week before deciding whether to proceed with those charges.

Coleman found no probable cause to allow all but one charge against Tnikia Monta Washington to proceed, according to court records.

Washington, 29, was one of three people charged in a Dec. 16 incident in which three UNC players were allegedly tied up and robbed at knife point. Police said two of the players also were sexually assaulted.

Coleman ruled there was no probable cause against Washington for three counts each of criminal conspiracy and first-degree kidnapping and one count of first-degree sexual offense. She still faces a charge of resisting a public officer.

The judge also found no probable cause for two counts of criminal conspiracy and one count each of first-degree kidnapping and robbery with a dangerous weapon against Michael Troy Lewis, 32, of Durham.

Lewis is still charged with three counts of attempted felony larceny, two counts of first-degree kidnapping and one count each of criminal conspiracy, robbery with a dangerous weapon and assault on a government official.

Two charges each of first-degree kidnapping and criminal conspiracy were thrown out against the third defendant, Monique Jenice Taylor, 28. She still faces one count each of criminal conspiracy, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree sexual offense and resisting a public officer.

Coleman found no probable cause for charges related to any sexual assault on offensive lineman Aaron Stahl. WRAL previously had withheld his identity because he was considered a sexual assault victim.

A second offensive lineman, Lowell Dyer, testified Thursday that he had not been sexually assaulted.

Lewis remains in the Orange County Jail on a $500,000 bond. Washington and Taylor have been released on bond.