Ex-Delaware players plead guilty in theft case

DOVER, Del. -- Three former Delaware football players charged with breaking into another player's apartment and stealing liquid steroids and other items pleaded guilty a few days before their trial was to begin.

Demetrice Alexander and Danny Jones pleaded guilty Thursday to possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, two counts of second-degree robbery, wearing a disguise during the commission of a felony and second-degree conspiracy, attorney general Carl Danberg said Friday.

A third player, Jeffrey Robinson, pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary, two counts of second-degree robbery and two counts of second-degree conspiracy.

A fourth defendant, Tyrone Heggins, who was a Delaware student but not a football player, pleaded guilty to the same charges as Alexander and Jones.

The four had been scheduled to go on trial starting next Thursday in New Castle County Superior Court.

In exchange for the guilty pleas, prosecutors dropped charges of first-degree robbery against all the defendants and first-degree burglary charges against Alexander, Jones and Heggins, as well as other firearms charges.

Sentencing is scheduled for December. Robinson faces from two to 29 years in prison. Alexander, Heggins and Jones face possible sentences of three to 42 years.

Alexander, of Lilburn, Ga., was a sophomore linebacker; Jones, of Stratford, N.J., was a sophomore running back; and Robinson, of Fairburn, Ga., was a junior defensive back.

The men were arrested in March after two people armed with shotguns burst into the apartment of teammate Justin Hackett to steal steroids, according to Newark police. Hackett was dismissed from the team.