Local News

Police testify about UNC football player assault

Posted November 13, 2008 12:18 p.m. EST
Updated November 13, 2008 7:17 p.m. EST

— Chapel Hill police officers testified Thursday that a Durham man attacked them and then ran when they responded last year to a report by a University of North Carolina football player that he and two teammates were being robbed.

Michael Troy Lewis, 33, is 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.

Police have said Lewis and two women tied up the three players and robbed them at knife-point, and one of the women fondled one of the players during the Dec. 16, 2007, incident. One of the players had met the three at a Chapel Hill bar and invited them back to his apartment, police said.

Officer James Orbich told jurors Thursday that he and other officers responded to the apartment after one of the players whispered "we're being robbed" in a 911 call.

When officers arrived, Orbich said, Lewis was in the apartment and looked surprised to see police. Orbich said Lewis attacked him and started biting him before fleeing on foot.

Officer Stephanie Little testified that the three players were tied up inside the apartment and were trying to get the women to leave.

"It was like foam cord or rope or something. They were trying to push the females out," Little said. "They were indicating the females were there robbing them."

Officer Andy Ennis said one of the players told him that Lewis had put a knife to his throat.

"He said the man with the knife, he pushed the knife harder, more forcefully, into his neck and told him to chill out," Ennis testified. "At some point in time, (the player) started to resist, (and) the girl started punching him in the face."

A judge threw out several charges in the case in January, saying there was no probable cause to support claims that a second player, junior offensive lineman Aaron Stahl, had been sexually assaulted.

Another junior offensive lineman, Lowell Dyer, testified in January that he wasn't sexually assaulted during the incident.

Monique Jenice Taylor, 29, is charged with one count each of criminal conspiracy, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree sexual offense and resisting a public officer in the case. She will be tried separately.

Tnikia Monta Washington, 30, is charged with resisting a public officer in the case.

Lewis' defense attorney, Russell Hollers, told jurors in his opening statement Wednesday that one of the players was trying to pay the women for sex and that any sexual contact that night was consensual.

The trial is scheduled to continue Monday, when the three players are expected to testify.