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KNOXVILLE - The status of three University of Tennessee football players charged in a robbery attempt is on hold while coach Lane Kiffin reviews the case.
"We're gathering all the information in, and until then we really have nothing for you," Kiffin said this afternoon.
Also, one of the three UT players arrested after the holdup attempt on the Strip has been freed without having to post bond, according to his defense attorney.
Bond for Janzen Jackson, 18, was reduced from $15,000 this afternoon and he was released on his own recognizance, said attorney Donld Bosch.
"Mr. Jackson vehemently asserts his innocence and hopes to be able to demonstrate that in the next 24 to 48 hours," Bosch said.
Also arrested this morning in connection with the incident at a Pilot station on Cumberland Avenue were football players Mike Edwards and Nu'Keese Richardson, both 18, as well as UT student Marie Montmarquet, 22, who was driving the car the men were in, according to the Knoxville Police Department.
All four suspects have been charged with three counts of attempted armed robbery, and Montmarquet also faces drug charges.
Attorney Gregory P. Isaacs, who represents Montmarquet, said his client was a excellent UT student and a former intern in the state Legislature.
"Our preliminary investigation reveals that Miss Montmarquet had no knowledge of any of the allegations she has been charged with and we look forward to speaking with authorities regarding this matter as expeditiously as possible."
It wasn't immediately clear if Edwards or Richardson have attorneys.
UT athletic director Mike Hamilton released a statement this morning about the episode.
"At this time we are currently evaluating the circumstances surrounding an incident involving Mike Edwards, Janzen Jackson and Nu'Keese Richardson," Hamilton said. "Any decisions or comments regarding their status will not be made until the evaluations are complete."
Both Richardson and Jackson are coming off a week in which they faced discipline from coach Lane Kiffin, the former for missing a practice and the latter for a violation of team rules.
Kiffin has touted the discipline in his program and a clean arrest record as recently as Wednesday's SEC teleconference.
Richardson is a 5-foot-10, 165-pound wide receiver from Pahokee, Fla. Jackson is a 6-foot, 174-pound defensive back from Lake Charles, La. Edwards is a 5-foot-10 defensive back from Cleveland, Ohio.
According to KPD spokesman Darrell DeBusk, the incident began at 1:43 a.m. at the Pilot station, 2218 Cumberland Ave., when officers were alerted to an armed robbery in progress.
When officers arrived, they found Cory B. Zickefoose, 20, Benjamin J. Everett, 19 and Corey M. Smith, 18, claiming to have been accosted by two men wearing black hoodies.
The trio told officers they were sitting in a 1998 Hyundai Elantra at the convenience store while a friend was inside the business. As they waited for their friend, a man opened the driver's door, brandished a handgun and stated, "Give me everything you have," DeBusk said.
A second man also wearing a black hoodie then opened the passenger door of the Hyundai and reiterated to the trio, "Give us everything you've got," DeBusk said.
In an interview this afternoon, Zickefoose and Smith told the News Sentinel they had no inkling beforehand that the people in the parking lot were about to attempt a robbery. Even during the incident, Zickefoose, who was driving, said the man with the weapon wasn't overly aggressive.
"I could just tell he wasn't going to shoot me. He didn't have too much authority," Zickefoose said.
The victims said they showed the two men their empty wallets and said they had no money.
"I said, 'Sorry, we don't have anything to give you.' " Zickefoose said.
"We ain't got nothing but a cheeseburger," Smith added, "but they didn't take that."
A third man then approached the car and told the other two men in hoodies, "We've got to go," DeBusk said.
The three men got into a 2010 Toyota Prius driven by a woman and fled the area. Zickefoose said he glanced at the Prius during the attempted heist and noted the woman seemed amused.
"She was smiling, with a big grin on her face," Zickefoose said.
Officers stopped the car on Neyland Drive near Leinard Lane after it had been seen near Gibbs Halls.
Police found Edwards, Richardson and Jackson in the car, which was driven by Marie Montmarquet, 22, DeBusk said. UT spokeswoman Karen Collins confirmed that Montmarquet is a student at UT.
A search of the Prius revealed a air-powered pellet pistol under the rear seat. Two black hoodies were seen in plain view in the back seat, DeBusk said.
The suspects were taken to the Pilot station where the three victims identified Edwards and Richardson as the two men in black hoodies who demanded their wallets.
Richardson and Edwards were being held on a $19,500 bond each. Jackson was held in lieu of $15,000 bond.
In the glove box of the Prius police found a marijuana grinder, a device to break chunks of compressed marijuana into loose particles so that it can be more easily smoked. Police found a clear plastic bag of suspected marijuana in Montmarquet's jacket pocket, DeBusk said.
Montmarquet told police the grinder and marijuana found in her jacket belonged to her, DeBusk said. Along with the three counts of attempted armed robbery, she also was charged with simple drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Her bond has been set at $16,000, according to Isaacs.
More details as they develop online and in Friday's News Sentinel.