UT football players arrested for attempted armed robbery

UT football players arrested for attempted armed robbery

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Police say the victims were sitting in a 1998 Hyundai Elantra at Pilot on Cumberland Ave. Police say the victims were sitting in a 1998 Hyundai Elantra at Pilot on Cumberland Ave.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Three UT football players are charged with attempted armed robbery following their arrests early Thursday, Knoxville police said.

The players are all freshmen. Defensive back Janzen Jackson, 19, and wide receiver Nu'Keese Richardson, 19,  and defensive back Michael Edwards, 18, are charged with three counts each of attempted armed robbery.

A fourth suspect, Marie Montmarquet, 21, faces similar charges and is also being held on drug charges.

Richardson and Edwards were held on bonds of $19,500 each. Jackson's bond was set at $15,000.

Police say three men, Corey B. Zickefoose, 20, Benjamin J. Everett, 20, and Corey M. Smith, 18, were sitting in a 1998 Hyundai Elantra at Pilot on Cumberland Ave.

The men said they were parked next to a light blue Toyota Prius when one of the four suspects approached their car holding a semi-auto handgun.

The victims told police the man opened the driver's door and ordered the three to "Give me everything you have." A second suspect then went to another door of the car and said, "Give us everything you've got."

When the victims showed their wallets to the suspects to prove they didn't have any money, a third suspect arrived, saying, "We've got to go."

The victims said the suspects got in the Prius, which went southbound on Volunteer Blvd West. They said a woman was driving and three men were in the car.

Using descriptions from the victims of the suspects and their vehicle, police later spotted the suspects near Gibbs Hall on the UT campus, still in the Prius, and stopped it.

Officers saw two black hoodies on the back seat. Under the back seat, they found a black, CO2 powered pellet gun. In the glove box, officers found a marijuana grinder.

A search of the suspects revealed a plastic baggie with what was believed to be marijuana in Montmarquet's jacket pocket.

Montmarquet later said the marijuana grinder belonged to her.

Police confiscated the hoodies, the pellet gun, the marijuana and the marijuana grinder. The Prius was towed to the city impound lot.

The four were taken back to Pilot where the victims identified Edwards and Richardson as the two who demanded money. Jackson was identified as the suspect who said they had to go.

The police report said two other people, Charles Miller and Carly Hair, witnessed the incident and gave police the same description of the event as the victims.

"At this time, we are currently evaluating the circumstances surrounding an incident involving Mike Edwards, Janzen Jackson and Nu’Keese Richardson," UT Men's Athletics Director Mike Hamilton said in a statement released Thursday. "Any decisions or comments regarding their status will not be made until the evaluations are complete."

Late Thursday head coach Lane Kiffin said he was not sure of the playing status of the players and was still looking into the incident.

Former head coach Phillip Fulmer "will have no comment," according to his attorney, Jeff Hagood.

Jackson is a 6', 180 pound defensive back from Lake Charles, Louisiana. He was rated as the no. 2 cornerback in the 2009 class by Rivals.com.

Richardson is a 5'10", 165 pound wide receiver from Pahokee, Fla. He was rated as the no. 9 wide receiver in the 2009 class by Rivals.com.

Edwards is a 5'10", 170 pound defensive back from Cleveland, Ohio. He was rated as the no. 48 cornerback nationally by Rivals.com.

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