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Published: Friday, 2/10/2006

Former OSU star Clarett is indicted on 7 felony counts

BY JIM PROVANCE
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU

COLUMBUS Former star Ohio State University running back Maurice Clarett faces as many as 25 years in prison after being indicted today by a Franklin County grand jury on robbery and concealed weapon charges.

Police have yet to identify the two men who reportedly escaped with Mr. Clarett in a white sports utility vehicle after the alleged early morning New Year s Day robbery.

Police have also not found the gun that Mr. Clarett allegedly showed his two victims during the robbery.

County Prosecutor Ron O Brien, however, said failure to find the gun should not impede Mr. Clarett s prosecution.

It s the fact ..., he said, in terms of significance, it s of minimal significance.

Mr. Clarett will remain free on bond, pending arraignment February 24. He faces two counts of aggravated robbery, four counts of robbery, and one count of carrying a concealed firearm, all felonies.

Mr. O Brien characterized the lesser robbery charges as back-up charges.

Less than two hours into the New Year, Mr. Clarett began to rob Lucas Nyarko, 28, and Tywona Douglas, 30, in the alley beside the Opium Lounge, a Columbus bar.

The bar s manager, Tashona Corvi, who knew Mr. Clarett, walked into the alley and tried to strike up a conversation with him. The couple told Mrs. Corvi they were being robbed, prompting the Mr. Clarett to flee in the white sports utility vehicle.

According to police, Mr. Clarett scored a cell phone and a few other minor items from the victims.

Mr. Clarett turned himself into the police two days after the robbery. He posted $50,000 bond and was released from jail.

As a college freshman, Mr. Clarett scored the winning, overtime touchdown in Ohio State s 2003 Fiesta Bowl national championship game over the University of Miami (Fla.).

The tailback then tried to jump directly into the National Football League draft, a move blocked by the courts at so early a stage in his college career.

Amid allegations of special treatment and NCAA investigations, he never returned to the team or the school. The Denver Broncos drafted Mr. Clarett in the third round of the draft last year, but he was cut from the team at the pre-season training camp.

After the robbery, OSU football coach Jim Tressel said that Mr. Clarett had contemplated playing in the NFL Europe as a way to restart his once-promising career.

Contact Jim Provance at:jprovance@theblade.com or 614-221-0625.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.



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