Quarterback Anthony Jennings and two other LSU football players who were arrested last month were reinstated to the team Friday shortly after the district attorney decided against charging them with crimes.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore announced Friday afternoon that the trio would not be charged, putting an end to six weeks of drama surrounding LSU’s starting quarterback last season.
LSU coach Les Miles lifted the six-week-long suspensions for Jennings, defensive back Dwayne Thomas and defensive lineman Maquedius Bain, said spokesman Michael Bonnette. The three players will “undergo in-house discipline,” but will report for fall camp with others Wednesday, Bonnette said.
The news doesn’t come as a surprise. Miles has suggested over the past three weeks during various media appearances that the players would have a “positive” resolution to their June 18 arrests. Moore said Wednesday after a Rotary Club meeting that the case against them would likely be dropped.
All three were booked for unauthorized entry into an inhabited dwelling, and Thomas was also booked on a simple burglary charge. They allegedly walked into another student’s apartment and broke into a bedroom to retrieve items Jennings claims were stolen from him.
“This decision is based upon the request of the victim that no charges be filed and inconsistent and contradictory statement provided,” Moore wrote in a statement released to the media. “Although the conduct of these students in this situation is unacceptable, it is not one, based on the facts, that warrants prosecution, although their actions could have subjected them to such.”
In a small news conference in his office Friday, Moore said the players were “investigated more than any other person would have” because they were high-profile athletes.
The ruling opened the door for the three players to return to the team, a boost for a squad that begins preseason camp Thursday. Jennings is involved in a heated battle for the starting quarterback job with sophomore Brandon Harris. Thomas and Bain are expected to compete for starting jobs at their positions.
This is the third straight season in which a key LSU football player’s arrest led to his status hanging in the balance ahead of preseason camp. In 2013, running back Jeremy Hill was reinstated to the team hours before camp began after a judge did not send him to jail for violating his probation.
Last year, defensive back Jalen Mills’ charges were lessened to a misdemeanor, news that Moore announced just after midnight on the day camp began. Both players participated in the opening day of camp.
“Unfortunately this seems to happen every year,” Moore said Wednesday. “It’s frustrating for me and for the coaches, I’m sure. These are all young kids who make stupid mistakes.”
The arrests of Jennings, Thomas and Bain stemmed from an event June 12. The three players and at least three more males entered a West Campus Apartment and broke into a bedroom, removing items from the room, the police report said. They did so with the presumed intent to retrieve items said to have been stolen from Jennings’ apartment June 10 — a MacBook Air, three pairs of shoes and a PlayStation 4.
Jennings filed a police report about the stolen items June 10.
Before the incident, Jennings told police Bain had retrieved the laptop from Nicholas Anderson, who bought it from a person nicknamed “Doodaman,” the report says.
The intruders entered Anderson’s bedroom, destroying the door frame and locks, the police report says. Anderson’s roommate, Zeadrick Williams, a 20-year-old LSU junior, was there at the time.
Anderson, who was out of town, returned to find the following shoes missing from his room: a pair of gray/blue Georgetowns ($200), red/white Cherrys ($120) and black 4s ($200).
Williams identified Thomas as the person who left Anderson’s room with shoe boxes. Williams said he observed Thomas hitting his roommate’s door with his shoulder in an attempt to break in.
But Moore said Friday that Williams couldn’t identify the person leaving the apartment with the shoe boxes. Court records show that Anderson was booked with receiving stolen items, and Moore said that count is still under review by his office.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter: @DellengerAdv.