WKU football players indicted on charges stemming from March altercation

Published: Jun. 1, 2017 at 9:53 AM CDT
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Six current Western Kentucky University football players and one former player are facing charges stemming from an incident behind the PIKE fraternity house in March.

All seven individuals are facing misdemeanor charges, while four are facing additional felony charges.

Those indicted include Quinton A. Baker, 19; Xavier D. Lane, 20; Tyler Obee, 18; and Cecil C. Stallings, 20, who were each charged with complicity to wanton endangerment, first degree; complicity to assault, fourth degree; and criminal trespass, third degree.

Andrew O’Bryan, 19, was charged with menacing, and criminal trespass, third degree. O'Bryan recently transferred to Eastern Kentucky.

Jachour H. Pearson, 19, and Christopher R. Johnson, 21, were each charged with criminal trespass, third degree.

Western Kentucky released a statement saying Baker, Johnson, Lane, Obee, Pearson and Stallings have been suspended indefinitely from all team-related activities pending further developments.

On the night of March 4 into the early morning hours of March 5, police reports state a group of individuals came the PIKE fraternity house in response to an alleged incident the night before.

Jerald Armfield, a PIKE alumnus, said he was assaulted when he went to ask the individuals to leave the property.

Attorney Brian Lowder is representing Baker, Lane and Obee in the process.

"We’re not suggesting it was handled the right way by the football players, but there’s two sides to every story," Lowder said. "We feel like the other side of this story that has gone completely unreported, partly because we have not engaged in making statements and leaks to the media throughout the process unlike Mr. Armfield has.

“From the beginning he’s selling the videos to TMZ, leaking the videos of the incident before there was, really, any investigation by the police department."

Lowder said the previous night two WKU football players were assaulted at the PIKE house – one was repeatedly called racial slurs – and those two players later encountered a WKU police officer who did not further investigate that incident, provoking the Western Kentucky players to take matters into their own hands.

Lowder said when players arrived at the PIKE house the following night, Armfield was contacted as the chapter's security point man, but chose not to notify authorities and instead attempted to handle the matter in his own way.

“(Armfield's) repeatedly leaked video, made statements to the media – all the while the WKU football organization, the PIKE chapter representatives have tried to meet and speak and put these incidents behind them," Lowder said. "But apparently they weren’t able to do that because of Mr. Armfield’s insistence that there be a prosecution. At no point in time have we heard him state that there should be any sort of accountability for the PIKEs for the incident the night before.

Armfield claims that he alerted police the night of March 4, that there were individuals gathering outside the PIKE house, and the incident occurred before any police showed up.

“We think it’s a disappointing situation," says Louder. "We were happy to see that there was one felony charge of wanton endangerment which we believe will certainly be defensible. There were no felonies committed here.

“Again, we don’t condone the way the football players handled it, but at the same time there is another side of this story and we feel like that needs to be shared.”

Attorney General Andy Beshear on Thursday announced that a Warren County grand jury had indicted seven men on charges ranging from felony wanton endangerment to criminal trespass.

The seven defendants are alleged to have unlawfully entered the premises of the Pi Kappa Alpha at Western Kentucky University. Four of the defendants are alleged to have assaulted an individual, according to the indictment.

Beshear’s Special Prosecutions Unit is handling the case.

The six players currently on the team have been suspended indefinitely from all team-related activities, pending further developments.

Wanton endangerment, first degree, is a Class D felony carrying a penalty of one to five years in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $10,000.

Assault, fourth degree, is a Class A misdemeanor carrying a penalty of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $500.

Menacing is a Class B misdemeanor carrying a penalty of up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $250.

Criminal trespass, third degree, is a violation carrying a penalty of a fine of up $250.

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