Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL [Print without images]

Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Active athletes charged in deaths

ESPN.com news services

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is the latest addition to the list of athletes charged with murder, homicide and/or manslaughter while being active in their respective sports.

Here's a look:

• June 2013 -- Ausar Walcott, a rookie free agent for the NFL's Cleveland Browns, was arrested and charged with attempted murder after allegedly punching a man outside a gentleman's club in New Jersey. Walcott turned himself in to police and was charged with first-degree attempted murder, second-degree aggravated assault and third-degree endangering an injured victim.

• 2013 -- South African Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend. Pistorius has been charged with premeditated murder, but he has said he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder. Case hearing has been postponed until Aug. 19 to allow police to complete its investigation.

• December 2012 -- A grand jury in Texas formally indicted Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent on one count of intoxication manslaughter. Brent is charged in connection with a crash that killed Cowboys practice squad member Jerry Brown. Intoxication manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, but Brent could be eligible for probation.

• 2009 -- On March 14, 2009, Donte' Stallworth hit and killed a pedestrian with his car on a highway in Miami. On June 16, 2009, he pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter charges and was sentenced to one month of jail time. Two days later, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Stallworth indefinitely for violating the league's substance-abuse policy and personal conduct policy. On July 20, 2009, Stallworth was released from jail early after serving 24 days in prison. On Aug. 13, 2009, Stallworth was suspended without pay for the entire 2009 season by Goodell. Goodell confirmed during his state of the league speech on Feb. 5, 2010, that Stallworth would be reinstated after the Super Bowl. As soon as Stallworth was officially reinstated on Feb. 8, 2010, the Browns cut him. Nine days later, the Baltimore Ravens signed him to a one-year contract.

• February 2005 -- NHL star Dany Heatley pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor charges in exchange for prosecutors dropping charges of first-degree vehicular homicide and reckless driving, which could have meant up to 15 years in prison. Heatley was also ordered to make 50 speeches a year for three years about the perils of speeding. His car must have a mechanism to prevent it from exceeding 70 mph. Heatley had been charged with vehicular homicide in the death of Dan Snyder, his Atlanta Thrashers teammate and friend, after a crash in September 2003.

• January 2004 -- Tammy Crow, a synchronized swimmer, is one of America's elite competitors. In December, she qualified for the U.S. Olympic team. Crow was sentenced to 90 days in the Tuolumne County jail after pleading no contest to two counts of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter.

• September 2003 -- Former Cowboy Dwayne Goodrich's gray BMW struck three men attempting to free an unconscious man from a burning car involved in another accident on Interstate 35 in Dallas. Two of them died. One suffered a broken leg. Goodrich was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to 7½ years in prison. Five more years for failure to stop and render aid were tacked on to the prison time. He was released on parole from the Huntsville Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in October 2011.

• January 2001 -- Rae Carruth, the Carolina Panthers wide receiver, was convicted in January 2001 of murder conspiracy in the shooting death of his pregnant girlfriend in Charlotte, N.C. He also was convicted of shooting into an occupied vehicle and using a gun to try to kill the baby she was carrying, but he was acquitted on a first-degree murder charge that could have brought the death penalty. He is serving a sentence of at least 18 years, 11 months.

• June 2000 -- Ray Lewis was charged with murdering two men in a January 2000 street fight outside an Atlanta nightclub after the Super Bowl, but the charge was dropped during a four-week trial. Lewis pleaded guilty to misdemeanor obstruction of justice.

• October 1998 -- Leonard Little drank and drove his sport utility vehicle into Susan Gutweiler's car. A wife and mother, she died the next day. The St. Louis Rams put him on paid leave. Little pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. His punishment: 90 nights in jail, four years' probation and 1,000 hours of community service. Then NFL justice kicked in. Little could play in training camp and exhibition games but was banned without pay for the first eight regular-season games. That half-season suspension cost him roughly $125,000.

• July 1995 -- Seattle Seahawks receiver Brian Blades is charged with manslaughter in the shooting of his cousin in Opa-locka, Fla. He says the shooting was accidental, and a judge overturned his jury conviction.

• March 1992 -- Former Boston Celtics guard Charles Smith was convicted of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crime in the hit-and-run deaths of two Boston University students. Sentenced to 4½ years in prison, he was acquitted of the more serious charge of manslaughter. Smith was sentenced to 2½ years' imprisonment on each of two counts of motor vehicle homicide, to run concurrently, and two years on each of two counts of leaving the scene of an accident, also to run concurrently.

Oscar Pistorius
Oscar Pistorius, charged with premeditated murder of his girlfriend, will have his case heard Aug. 19.

• January 1989 -- Bruce Kimball, a 1984 Olympic silver medalist in diving, was sentenced to 17 years in prison and 15 years' probation for manslaughter in a drunken-driving accident that killed two teenagers and injured four in August 1988 in Brandon, Fla.

• 1988 -- Reggie Rogers was the No. 1 draft choice of the Lions in 1987. The former University of Washington star defensive lineman was found guilty of negligent homicide in the deaths of three teenagers in a traffic accident in Pontiac, Mich., in 1988. Rogers had been speeding and was drunk when he ran a stoplight in his Jeep Cherokee and struck a car driven by the teens. A 1993 DUI arrest in Bellevue, Wash., got him into a treatment program for 23 months in order to have charges dropped. A year after the program ended, Rogers was back in jail. In April 1997, Rogers was sentenced in Seattle Municipal Court to 10 months in jail and fined $2,000 for driving under the influence of alcohol for his second DUI arrest in Washington state since serving a year in jail for negligent homicide in the Pontiac, Mich., case. He had yet to lose his license to drive.

• June 1986 -- Derrick Fenner, a North Carolina running back, was arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Marcellus Leach in what police called a "turf war" between rival drug factions. The murder charge was dismissed on Nov. 30, 1987.

• May 1984 -- Craig MacTavish was convicted of vehicular homicide in May 1984 while a member of the Boston Bruins. While drunk, he rear-ended a car, causing it to skid into a parking lot, where it hit two more cars and overturned. The other driver died days later, and MacTavish served a year in prison.

• 1981 -- Esteban de Jesus, a former World Boxing Council lightweight champion who fought in the shadow of Roberto Duran during the 1970s, was sentenced to life in the Rio Piedras State Penitentiary in Puerto Rico for the fatal shooting of a teenager. He died less than two months after Puerto Rico Gov. Rafael Hernandez Colon commuted his sentence after it was disclosed that the former champion had AIDS.

• January 1974 -- Houston Astros outfielder Cesar Cedeno was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of 19-year-old Altagracia de la Cruz, who died of a gunshot wound to the head on Dec. 11, 1973, in a Dominican Republic hotel room. Cedeno was fined $100. Cedeno told the Dominican judge the shooting was accidental, that she was handling the pistol when it went off.

• May 1967 -- Middleweight boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, was convicted with John Artis for killing three people in a Paterson, N.J., bar in December 1966. Carter was found guilty in a 1976 retrial. In 1985, a federal judge ruled Carter could be released, noting his triple murder conviction was based on racial stereotyping and freeing him on the basis of "human decency."

Information from ESPN Research was used in this report.