Archive for Monday, May 15, 2006

Texas running back arrested, charged

Sheriff finds marijuana, ammunition in car belonging to troubled Longhorn standout

May 15, 2006


— Texas running back Ramonce Taylor, who scored a touchdown in the Longhorns' Rose Bowl win over Southern California, was arrested early Sunday by Bell County sheriff's deputies who said they found marijuana in his backpack in his car.

According to a news release from Sheriff Dan Smith, deputies also found a live .40-caliber round of ammunition in the console of the vehicle.

Taylor's attorney, Buck Harris of Killeen, said the marijuana was not Taylor's, The Dallas Morning News reported in its online edition Sunday night.

The sheriff first reported that deputies responding to calls about a fight involving as many as 100 people found more than five pounds of marijuana in Taylor's backpack, which would be a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in jail and $10,000 in fines.

But Bell County prosecutors instead charged Taylor with state jail felony drug posession of marijuana, pending lab results to determine the total weight of the drug, Smith's office said.

If it weighs more than five pounds, the charge will be upgraded.

A state jail felony carries up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

A telephone message left at his family's home in Temple was not immediately returned Sunday.

Taylor, 20, remained in the Bell County Jail and would be arraigned today.

According to the sheriff, deputies received a report at 1:34 a.m. about a large fight at a pecan farm in Little River, a community about 40 miles north of Austin.

Deputies also received a call from someone who said they had been at the fight and complained a window on his vehicle had been broken. That caller turned out to be Taylor.

While interviewing Taylor at a convenience store, deputies were told by other officers at the fight scene that Taylor had been involved and had threatened to return with a gun. Taylor was placed in handcuffs.

Taylor told deputies he didn't have a gun and gave them permission to search his vehicle. Deputies reported finding the bullet and the backpack with the marijuana. Deputies said the backpack belonged to Taylor.

Taylor was arrested and his vehicle impounded. Two other individuals with him, who were not named in the report, were released at the scene.

One of Texas' most versatile players, Taylor scored 15 touchdowns last season, including a 30-yard scoring run in the Rose Bowl, which Texas won 41-38. The win gave Texas its first outright national championship since 1969.

Taylor had been excused from spring practice in March to focus on academics and had not participated in any team functions since then, Longhorns Mack Brown said in a statement released by the school.

"We are aware of this recent situation and will follow it as the legal system runs its course. At this time, we will not consider reinstating him to the team," Brown said.

Ken Oden, an Austin attorney who represented Taylor in a December assault investigation told the Austin American-Statesman the player's mother told him about the arrest. Oden said he suggested hiring a lawyer in Bell County.

"She's just trying to figure things out," Oden said.


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