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Archive for Thursday, September 28, 2000

Pierce improving

Two of three suspects in police custody

September 28, 2000

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— Two of three men wanted by police in the stabbing of Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce turned themselves in Wednesday night, police said.

Tony McCrary, also known as Tony Hurston, 31, and Trevor Watson, 34, appeared at a Boston police station at 7:30 p.m. with their lawyers and surrendered.

They are to be arraigned this morning in Boston Municipal Court.

A warrant had been issued for Hurston, Watson and William Ragland, 28, charging all three with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Hurston was alleged to have wielded a bottle, while Watson and Ragland were alleged to have used a knife in a bar room attack on Pierce, the former Kansas University player.

Hurston's attorney, John Swomley, said Hurston was working in New York when he learned of the warrant against him.

Swomley also represents members of Made Men, a rap group that some witnesses reportedly told police might have had a connection to the stabbing.

"As far as I know (Hurston) denies any involvement," Swomley said. "I think that (Made Men are) disheartened Mr. Hurston has been sucked into this. I think they're as convinced as I that he had nothing to do with any injuries caused to Mr. Pierce."

Police were still looking for Ragland Wednesday night. Pierce, meanwhile, was listed in good condition at New England Medical Center and may be released Friday.

Eyewitness accounts were instrumental in leading police to the suspects, Boston police Deputy Supt. Margaret O'Malley said.

Police said earlier this week that they were investigating associates of the rap group Made Men. O'Malley would not comment on whether the suspects had ties to the group, and members of the group have denied any involvement in the stabbing.

But Watson may be a friend of band member Raymond E. Scott. A man named Trevor Watson was with Scott when the rapper was arrested at the Braintree mall in June. Neither Braintree nor Boston police would immediately confirm that it was the same Trevor Watson named in the arrest warrant.

A Boston Herald source said Pierce had a dispute with some of the Made Men band's associates or "posse" members that dates back to last spring and argued with some of them outside a Canal Street nightclub about 24 hours before he was attacked in the Buzz Club at 1:10 Monday.

O'Malley would not say who might have instigated the fight.

Pierce, 22, had surgery Monday to repair a damaged lung. Officials at the New England Medical Center termed the other stab wounds to Pierce's face, neck and back as mostly superficial.

On Tuesday, Celtics coach Rick Pitino said Pierce showed marked improvement in the last 24 hours. Sources close to Pierce said he walked around his room in the morning.

Delighted that Pierce was making such a speedy recovery, Pitino expressed hope that his player's luck would carry over to a team that has failed to make the playoffs for the past five seasons.

"For the last 14 years, everybody said the Celtics have had a string of bad luck and the leprechaun's gone. We think he's back now. Because for Paul to go through this experience and look this good in a short period of time and step away from this danger, we all feel the leprechaun's back. So, we're very excited. This is tremendous good luck and good fortune."

Celts' forward Adrian Griffin visited Pierce's room with his family members. Assistant coach Lester Conner arrived in a black Celtics sweatsuit. Center Vitaly Potapenko carried a gift inside. M.L. Carr came to lend support to Pierce's mother, Lorraine Hosey.

Asked if he expected Pierce back on the court soon, Griffin said, ''I'm not a doctor. I have no idea. Right now I'm not even thinking about basketball. I don't even care about that part right now, as long as he's getting better.''

Pitino kept the focus on Pierce's health, not his basketball career.

''At the appropriate time, when he leaves here, it will be easier to say than right now,'' said Pitino. ''We talked about a lot of things, but just personal stuff.''

Neither Griffin nor Carr got a chance to see Pierce, but they relayed their best wishes through Hosey. Pierce was sleeping when Griffin arrived in the early evening. Griffin said that when Pierce was well enough, he might explain what happened at the Boston nightclub.

Teammate Tony Battie and his brother Derrick were with Pierce at the club.

'I'm doing fairly good under the circumstances,'' said Derrick. ''It's been a long, tedious 48 hours.''

''It's always serious when you think about what he went through,'' said Carr. ''Hopefully, he'll be fine, and it looks like he will be. Our prayers are still with him.''

The Celtics have set up a message board on their Web site (Celtics.com) for anyone interested in sending Pierce a personal note. The messages will be relayed to him while he's in the hospital.

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