News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

October 3, 2012

10 NDSU players plead guilty to petition fraud

FARGO, N.D. — Ten North Dakota State University football players pleaded guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor election fraud and were sentenced to community service for faking signatures ballot measure petitions that they were hired to collect.

Among the players on the nation’s top-ranked Football Championship Subdivision team who pleaded guilty Tuesday were starters Samuel Ojuri, Joshua Colville, Marcus Williams and Brendin Pierre. Players Lucas Albers, Aireal Boyd, Demitrius Gray Bryan Shepherd, Antonio Rogers, and Charles Smith III also pleaded guilty.

Each of the players was ordered to serve 360 days of unsupervised probation, complete 50 hours of community service and pay $325 in fees. All of the sentences were deferred, meaning the crime will be expunged from a player’s record if he completes the conditions of his sentence.

Without enough legitimate signatures, both proposed ballot measures — one to set up a state conservation fund and the other to legalize medical marijuana usage — were kept off the November ballot.

Judge Douglas Herman said during sentencing that the defendants were “not smart enough, grown up enough or sophisticated enough” to understand the consequences of their actions, and should not be penalized for being football players.

“I don’t want to treat them adversely, to make special examples of them,” Herman said.

Birch Burdick, the Cass County state’s attorney, echoed those thoughts outside the courtroom.

“We took no consideration of what they do outside the courthouse here other than the activity that we were charging them with,” Burdick said. “It’s irrelevant to me whether they are football players, baseball players or clerical workers in some office. It’s the behavior that we’re looking at.

“If they’ve got some administrative sanctions that they have to face because of their activity, that’s up to the university to figure out,” he said.

The players declined to comment after the hearing. Defense attorney Bruce Quick deferred questions to NDSU officials, who said they planned to issue a statement later Tuesday.

Bison head coach Craig Bohl has said the team might discipline the players but won’t suspend them.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to the sentences for seven of the 10 players. The state had recommended 1-year suspended sentences for Ojuri, Williams and Albers because of prior misdemeanors.

Burdick said the sentencing recommendation was based on past cases in the county and state, most recently in 2008 in Grand Forks.

“Those were all deferred sentences,” he said. “As a result we were looking for that same disposition here on most cases.”

Ojuri, a starting running back, had prior convictions for possession of a controlled substance and a minor alcohol violation. Williams, an All-American cornerback, had prior convictions for possession of alcohol by a minor and driving with a suspended license and without insurance. Albers, a backup tight end, had previous citation for underage possession of alcohol.

When Ojuri came before Herman, the judge said to the defense attorney, “All right Mr. Quick, this is going to be a hard one.” Quick told Herman he believed all the players deserved the same sentence, in part because they quickly admitted wrongdoing and cooperated with investigators.

“Having this on your record is a lot different than having the other offenses on your record, just because of the taint of fraud,” he said.

The judge interrupted prosecutor Tracy Peters when she began to talk about the impact of the crime.

“If you want to be a zealot with this case you don’t come in here with deferred impositions in hand,” Herman said.

Before finishing with the players, Herman emphasized that they needed to complete the community service by April 15, which would give them about three months after a possible appearance in the FCS championship game. “Must means must,” he said, telling them they would go to jail if they don’t follow orders.

The current players are among 15 people charged in the case.

Two other people also entered pleas Tuesday. Jennifer Krahn pleaded guilty and received the same sentence as the 10 players. William Brown pleaded not guilty and requested a public defender. Three former Bison players — Don Carter, Joshua Gatlin and D.J. McNorton — had their first court appearances rescheduled to Thursday

An Iowa company, Terra Strategies, reportedly hired the players and others for $9 an hour to gather signatures for two citizen initiatives. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said last month that many of the petition signatures submitted were copied from phone books or fabricated.

Quick said in court the players were quoted a daily rate of between $65 and $90 but were told they’d get paid only if they obtained 60 signatures per day.

Herman questioned whether the practice was legal and criticized the quota system.

“I think that may have been pushed on these individuals,” he said.

North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger said workers checking the petitions noticed repeated Zip code mistakes, names “signed” in the same hand and other indications the signatures were faked. In one instance, a person signed the name of Hillary Rodham, who is better known as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and listed her as living at the White House, he said.  

Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents interviewed the circulators, who said they could not say which signatures on their petitions were genuine and which were not, Stenehjem said. Petition circulators are required to sign a statement declaring the signatures they gathered were properly obtained.  

With the suspect petitions disqualified, neither initiative had enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot, Jaeger said.

The No. 1-ranked Bison play No. 3-rated Youngstown State Saturday at the Fargodome.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
SPT 072314 PHEGLEY LINE.jpg

It was the Knights' day: Charlotte's Josh Phegley, center, high fives teammates and coaching staff after the Knights defeated the Indianapolis Indians 8-4 on Wednesday in Indianapolis.

  • Grinding away: Phegley, Ashley strive for shot in major leagues

    Being a catcher in professional baseball is taxing. Not only on the knees and hands — and various other parts of the human anatomy — but it’s a mental grind as well.

    July 23, 2014 5 Photos

  • APTOPIX Colts Report _Tayl.jpg Wayne gets special escort to Colts’ training camp

    Wide receiver Reggie Wayne has seemingly raised the bar the last several years when it comes to making flashy arrivals for Indianapolis Colts training camp. So when the unmistakable roar of an IndyCar engine was heard on the Anderson University campus Wednesday morning, nobody was surprised. Wayne, decked out in an official racing uniform and custom-made helmet, had reported for duty.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ISU basketball trio earn national academic honors

    A trio of Indiana State basketball student-athletes have been named to the 2013-14 National Association of Basketball Coaches Honors Court as announced by the national organization. Honored from Indiana State were Lucas Eitel, Justin Gant and Jake Kitchell.

    July 23, 2014

  • Metro roundup: Post 346 rallies past Rockville

    Wayne Newton Post 346 scored a run in the sixth and two in the seventh to get past Rockville 6-3 in an American Legion baseball regional at Terre Haute North on Wednesday.

    July 23, 2014

  • Prospect League: Rex crush Cavemen

    One day after an errror-filled 13-inning loss to Springfield at home, the Terre Haute Rex cleaned up their act on the road. There were no errors, and for the Hannibal Cavemen, no runs either. Terre Haute's six-run fourth inning broke the game open as the Rex won 10-0 late Tuesday.

    July 23, 2014

  • Tom Lindley column mug.jpg TOM LINDLEY: Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Even when Tiger Woods finished just a few strokes from last place at the British Open, he was one of the  featured topics in stories coming out of Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sports — What’s going on

    July 23, 2014

  • Truebytower.jpg Memorable experience in Morocco for ISU soccer team could help team's growth

    Coming off the best season in its history, the Indiana State women’s soccer team figures to have the experience to do even better in the upcoming fall season.
    Or maybe that’s #TheExperience.

    July 23, 2014 11 Photos

  • SPT072114sprints crowd.jpg TRACKSIDE: Clauson's run to Indiana Sprint Week title witnessed by many Hoosiers

    The checkered flag has fallen on yet another highly successful Indiana SprintWeek series for the USAC sprint cars.
    Bryan Clauson emerged as the series champ edging out Robert Ballou for the coveted title, his second ISW crown in as many years.

    July 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT 010414 LUCK LOOK.jpg Colts begin training camp with loftier goals in 2014

    With training camp starting today at Anderson University, third-year head coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson both believe that the Indianapolis Colts are ready to take another big step in 2014.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

Local Interest
High School
College
  • ISU basketball trio earn national academic honors

    A trio of Indiana State basketball student-athletes have been named to the 2013-14 National Association of Basketball Coaches Honors Court as announced by the national organization. Honored from Indiana State were Lucas Eitel, Justin Gant and Jake Kitchell.

    July 23, 2014

  • Metro roundup: Post 346 rallies past Rockville

    Wayne Newton Post 346 scored a run in the sixth and two in the seventh to get past Rockville 6-3 in an American Legion baseball regional at Terre Haute North on Wednesday.

    July 23, 2014

  • Truebytower.jpg Memorable experience in Morocco for ISU soccer team could help team's growth

    Coming off the best season in its history, the Indiana State women’s soccer team figures to have the experience to do even better in the upcoming fall season.
    Or maybe that’s #TheExperience.

    July 23, 2014 11 Photos

  • Metro: Former Miss Softball joins Purdue staff

    Terre Haute North graduate Megan Ciolli Bartlett, the state’s 2001 Miss Softball and a two-time All-American at Notre Dame, is joining the Purdue coaching staff.

    July 21, 2014

  • Metro: ISU graduate Johnson sixth in shot at Monaco

    Indiana State graduate Felisha Johnson competed in her first International Association of Athletics Federations Diamond League track and field meeting Friday, placing sixth in a shot put competition that featured six of the top seven throwers in the world for 2014.

    July 18, 2014

Sports Columns
SPT072114sprints crowd.jpg

Tribune-Star/Jim Avelis Records: Near perfect weather contributed to record attendance at racetracks around the state, including the Action Track, seen here.

Pro Sports
SPT 072314 PHEGLEY LINE.jpg

It was the Knights' day: Charlotte's Josh Phegley, center, high fives teammates and coaching staff after the Knights defeated the Indianapolis Indians 8-4 on Wednesday in Indianapolis.

Terre Haute Rex
Colts
APTOPIX Colts Report _Tayl.jpg

Indianapolis Colts receiver Reggie Wayne sits behind race driver Ed Carpenter as he arrived in a two-seat IndyCar as he and other players arrived for the NFL team's football training camp in Anderson, Ind., Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Auto Racing
AP Auto Racing News
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports 98-Year-Old Woman Left in Parked Truck Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Raw: Rescue Workers at Taiwan Plane Crash Site
NDN Video
LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB'
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity
Real Estate News