Posted: 8:58 am Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Former Pahokee star Nu’Keese Richardson arrested for attempted armed robbery 

By Jason Lieser

Nu’Keese Richardson, the Pahokee wide receiver who famously de-committed from Florida to sign with Tennessee, was arrested early this morning in connection with an attempted armed robbery.

The Knoxville Police Department said Richardson and two other Tennessee players face charges related to the armed robbery of a Pilot convenience store in Knoxville, just a few blocks away from their campus.

“I can’t say anything (in terms of suspensions) because we don’t have all the information, and when we get it all in, we’ll make a comment,” Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin told the Knoxville News Sentinel on Thursday. “We’re not going to make any judgments until we have all the information in, and then we’ll go from there once we get it.”

Richardson's booking photo, courtesy of the Knox County Sheriff's Office.

Richardson's booking photo, courtesy of the Knox County Sheriff's Office.

The victims told the Knoxville Police Department that Richardson and teammates Janzen Jackson and Michael Edwards, along with a 22-year-old woman named Marie Montmarquet, attempted to rob them shortly before 2 a.m. this morning. Montmarquet was the alleged driver.

Police identified the victims as three men between the ages of 18 and 20 that were sitting in a 1998 Hyundai Elantra.

They told police they were sitting in their car in the parking lot when Richardson and Edwards approached the vehicle and both demanded, “Give me everything you got.” They said one of the suspects displayed what appeared to be a black semi-automatic handgun and when the victims showed their empty wallets, Jackson allegedly emerged from the store and said, “We’ve gotta go.”

The report says the three players and Montmarquet drove away in a light blue 2010 Toyota Prius. The car was pulled over by Knoxville police less than two miles away.

In the report, police said they discovered the following items: a small bag of marijuana in Montmarquet’s jacket pocket, a marijuana grinder in the glove box of the Prius that Montmarquet allegedly said belonged to her, two black hooded sweatshirts and a black CO2-powered pellet gun under the back seat. All four suspects were brought to the Pilot store and positively identified by the victims, police said.

WVLT shot of Richardson in police custody. (volunteertv.com)

WVLT shot of Richardson in police custody. (volunteertv.com)

Pahokee coach Blaze Thompson was disappointed when he learned of Richardson’s arrest, but said he and the community are dedicated to helping him during this difficult period.

“We love Nu’Keese,” Thompson said. “This is out of character for him, but if this is in fact what he did, then we are here to support him.”

The Post‘s Ben Volin has more on this story on his Florida Gators blog.

Knoxville television station WVLT has raw video of police detaining the four suspects. Click here to view. Footage of Richardson begins around the 5:10 mark.

Richardson did not return a message left on his cell phone Thursday.

He has no previous arrests in Florida on his record and has been described by former teammates as a role model.

“I had tears in my eyes when I heard it,” Pahokee senior De’Joshua Johnson said. “It was unbelievable. He’d be the last person to do something like that.”

Former Pahokee coach Don Thompson, who currently assists the team in various capacities, said the news hurt all of Pahokee.

“It sounded totally out of character,” Thompson said. “It shocked every vertebra in the whole community. It was something you never could’ve expected.

“We love him and we believe he still has lots of good in him and lots of potential. We’re praying that God will help him through this time.”

This is the second controversy surrounding Richardson, 18, this month. He missed practice for undisclosed reasons in early November, which fueled rumors of a potential transfer. Kiffin denied those rumors.

For an article by the Knoxville News Sentinel, click here.