NHS athletes arrested

Published 2:04 am Thursday, April 10, 2008

NATCHEZ — Six members of the Natchez High School Powerlifting Team were arrested this week on charges of grand larceny.

The teens reportedly stole three four-wheelers Friday and Sunday.

Ermon Rice, 19, 158 Rice Road; Jeremy Hammond, 18, 219 Country Club Drive; and LeKendrick Kelly, 18, 28 King Circle, were all charged with two counts of grand larceny.

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Sgt. Craig Godbold said the charges included two counts each because the three four-wheelers were stolen at two different times.

The first four-wheeler, a Honda, was stolen from Pro Transmissions on U.S. 61 South.

Godbold said the four-wheeler was on a trailer in a gated area behind the business and, allegedly, Rice, Hammond and Kelly were the only three involved in stealing it.

“They used bolt cutters and cut into the fence and took the four-wheeler out,” Godbold said.

The three then allegedly put the four-wheeler in the back of a truck.

Lafayette Horton, 17, 79 Benard Lane; Willie Dean Newman, 18, 24 Anderson Drive; and Marvin Earl Robb, 18, 22 Pineview Drive, were charged with only one count of grand larceny.

Their charges are in connection with two Suzuki four-wheelers that were stolen from the Travel Inn on D’Evereux Drive.

The two four-wheelers were locked on separate trailers and then chained and locked to a post at the hotel.

Godbold said two cars with trailer hitches were used to take the two four-wheelers, trailers and all.

Both incidences occurred around 3 a.m., Godbold said.

A Natchez police officer spotted one of the stolen trailers that led to discovering the other stolen trailer and two stolen four-wheelers.

“More arrests will follow because we’re still missing a red Suzuki four-wheeler,” Godbold said.

Also, an arrest warrant on another juvenile has been issued.

Joseph Johnson, the Powerlifting team coach, said Wednesday afternoon he was unaware of the arrests.

“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” Johnson said. “I’m speechless.”

Johnson said he is unaware how the school will handle this type of situation as he has never faced it before. He could not say what punitive action may follow.

Johnson said it was difficult for him to believe these young men would do such a crime.

Natchez-Adams School District Superintendent Anthony Morris was unaware of the arrests, as well.

“I really can’t comment one way or another because no information has been forwarded from the law enforcement to me,” Morris said.

Morris said he does not want to make a formal statement until receiving all of the information.

Disciplinary action will be determined by the severity of the charges, he said.

Godbold said the thefts appeared to be more than just a boyish prank because the actions of the teens appeared premeditated.

“These kids, they knew what they were doing,” he said. “I mean they brought bolt cutters with them.

“It wasn’t spur of the moment; it was something they planned to do.”