A Douglas County judge Thursday ordered two former Kansas University football players to stand trial in connection with a May incident in which four KU students were briefly held at gunpoint in a Lawrence apartment.
The four students Thursday testified two men wearing black ski masks and armed with what appeared to be handguns entered the apartment at 1:30 a.m. May 14 and forced them to the ground at Tuckaway Apartments, 2600 W. Sixth St.
“The larger guy kept pushing the gun to the back of my head and kept cocking it like four times,” said Ryan Kearns, a KU student at the time in the apartment that night.
During a Thursday preliminary hearing of defendants Vernon Brooks, 23, and Jamal Greene, 22, Kearns and three other witnesses testified they were in the living room that night after studying for finals.
They said two men opened the unlocked door and entered. It seemed the two suspects, who wore black ski masks and dark clothing, were surprised to see people inside, but then they brandished handguns and ordered the four students to get on the ground.
Kearns said the larger of two suspects ordered them to the ground and eventually pointed a handgun at his head. Kearns said the other suspect walked toward a back bedroom of the apartment and then reappeared a few seconds later and said “he’s not here” before the two suspects left the apartment.
“Honestly I thought that someone was going to get shot. Someone was going to get hurt because I didn’t think they wanted any witnesses,” said Catherine Martin, another KU student who said she was ordered to the ground.
One hour later, KU police stopped a vehicle matching a description from the scene and arrested Brooks, a former KU linebacker who had been dismissed from the team earlier in the spring. Later that morning, officers arrested Greene — a defensive tackle who was eventually kicked off the team that afternoon — at his residence off campus.
Lawrence police Detective Lance Flachsbarth testified both Brooks and Greene in an interview said Brooks had recruited Greene in a plan to enter the apartment believing they could take marijuana and money from a back bedroom.
In the interview Brooks said he went to a locked bedroom. Someone briefly opened the door but then shut it again so he and Greene left the apartment.
Greene told detectives he carried a semiautomatic handgun that he owned and claimed it was not loaded. Flachsbarth said police recovered a gun.
After hearing the testimony Thursday, Douglas County District Judge Paula Martin bound Greene and Brooks over for trial on one count each of aggravated burglary, four counts of aggravated assault and one count of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary.
The trial for Greene, who is now listed on Mid-America Nazarene University’s football roster, is scheduled for Jan. 17, and Brooks faces a jury trial Feb. 21. Both defendants remain free on bond.