DA drops charges against Vol Jackson; no timetable on player's status

Defense attorneys for Richardson, Jackson and Montmarquet discuss Monday's events in court

KNOXVILLE - University of Tennessee football player Janzen Jackson walked out of court today cleared of attempted aggravated robbery charges, but his status on the team's up to another authority.

"That's up to Coach (Lane) Kiffin," said Jackson's lawyer, Don Bosch.

Prosecutors announced this morning they had dropped charges against Jackson and the woman accused of acting as a getaway driver in a botched holdup Nov. 12 outside the Pilot convenience store on Cumberland Avenue. Charges against two former players, Nu'Keese Richardson, 18, and Mike Edwards, 18, still stand, according to Randy Nichols, Knox County district attorney general.

Richardson, Edwards, and Jackson, 18, faced charges of attempted aggravated robbery after Knoxville police said they tried to hold up three men outside the store around 1:45 a.m. Fellow UT student Montmarquet, 22, faced charges of attempted aggravated robbery and of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

The drug charges against Montmarquet will proceed, prosecutors said.

Montmarquet, whose lawyer described her as a pre-law student, said she's just glad to have the robbery case over.

"This was not a plea bargain," said defense lawyer Gregory P. Isaacs. "It's unfortunate that she had to go through this ordeal."

Fulmer on Vol problems, successes

Edwards and Richardson will return to court Jan. 20 for a preliminary hearing. Jackson went free.

Jackson's lawyer, Don Bosch, said he never left the back seat of Montmarquet's car at the Pilot and didn't know what had happened until he was on the way back to Gibbs Hall.

"There was no deal cut to testify," Bosch said. "If he's called to court, he will testify that he didn't see anything."

Bosch said surveillance video from the Pilot played a key role in clearing Jackson.

"I frankly think it could have happened sooner," he said.

Edwards' lawyer, David Eldridge, and Richardson's lawyer, Jamie Poston, said they're preparing for the January hearing and not ready to discuss details of the case.

"He's a good kid, and there's a lot more to this case than meets the eye," said Richardson's lawyer, Poston.

Nichols said in a press release that the decision "was made after an intensive investigation by the Knoxville Police Department, numerous interviews of persons with any relevant information on these charges and reviews of more than 10 hours of video and audio records related to the charges."

"The investigation and careful review of all relevant evidence failed to show ... Ms. Montmarquet or Mr. Jackson had prior knowledge that the attempted robbery was going to take place and were unaware something had occurred until after they pulled out of the Pilot store," according to the DA's statement.

"Therefore, there is an insufficient legal basis to continue a prosecution against them.

"Both Ms. Montmarquet and Mr. Jackson cooperated with the Knoxville Police Department from the time they were pulled over and voluntarily responded to police questioning. Their statements assisted the investigation and were consistent with the other evidence developed."

The statement continued, "It is an ethical obligation and the standard practice of district attorneys to dismiss charges at the earliest stage of the criminal justice process once investigations reveal the evidence will not support a conviction and occurs almost daily in the Knox County courts."

Edwards and Richardson were kicked off the team last Monday. Jackson is still on the team but is barred from all team activities.

Tennessee will not make a decision today on Jackson’s playing status, said Tiffany Carpenter, public relations director for UT athletics, and there has been no timetable set for a decision.

The robbery attempt happened when Cory B. Zickefoose, Benjamin J. Everett and Corey M. Smith told police they'd been confronted by two men in black hoodies with what looked like a pistol. The men demanded "everything you have," according to court records.

The three, who had empty wallets, later identified Edwards and Richardson as the holdup men, police said.

Police stopped a 2010 Toyota Prius driven by Montmarquet soon after the holdup and found a pellet gun, two black hoodies and marijuana inside, according to records.

More details as they develop online and in Tuesday's News Sentinel.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2009, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2009 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 394

JenB (Inactive) writes:

bring it...

paradisetaxi writes:

AWESOME !!!!!!!

volfan53 writes:

How long do you think it will be before CLK lets Jackson play again. I think he has been punished enough for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe he will choose more wisely when it comes to friends he hangs out with.

paradisetaxi writes:

bring back Jackson and lets go to Tampa Bay

y9since80 writes:

in response to volfan53:

How long do you think it will be before CLK lets Jackson play again. I think he has been punished enough for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe he will choose more wisely when it comes to friends he hangs out with.

I say play him saturday.

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

Great news for Janzen and our thin defense!

VolTex writes:

He still should be let go. He clearly had some part in this even if a very small part. Didn't he also fail a drug test just a week before as well?

FEARinSEC writes:

Fry Jackson, FRY HIM NOW!!!!

Wait, I meant Play Jackson, PLAY HIM NOW!!!

(Sorry, guess all that BS the ignorants were spewing
the last couple of weeks got to me)

crimsonviper writes:

cool...Good for him,and the team.

orangenwhitefan writes:

WhatWouldUrbanDo.....Play em Saturday!!!

voltime writes:

We need him for KY so we can get to 25 in row!!!!!!

CeeJay865 writes:

Moving on...uphill battle to reach 7-5 gentlemen. Stay focused, get healthy and beat the Mildcats!!

springtx_vol writes:

in response to VolTex:

He still should be let go. He clearly had some part in this even if a very small part. Didn't he also fail a drug test just a week before as well?

NO one knows what he did or didn't do the week before except for people inside the Athletic Department; give it up already.

Janzen should no more be kicked out of school than any other student at the University does if they committed the same infraction. I don't condone the activities such as shoplifting, possession of marijuana, and other minor offenses, but everyone should get at least one redo.

However, I certainly hope and expect for Janzen to be on a short leash. I agree that repetition of behavior means you haven't learned anything.

cumberlandVOL writes:

if we want a program we can be proud of, i think we let him start coming to team activities and let him dress for UK but don't play him until the bowl game. I think if he plays in the UK game Kiffin might catch some flak for it. I think it's safe to let him start practicing again and hit the field in Tampa (hopefully).

gnm53108 writes:

Hot damn!

roloyo writes:

Was he drug tested the night of "The Great Cheeseburger Robbery"??? If he's clean....let him play. And JJ, keep your azzz in your room this winter....AND STUDY. GBO

VolTex writes:

in response to springtx_vol:

NO one knows what he did or didn't do the week before except for people inside the Athletic Department; give it up already.

Janzen should no more be kicked out of school than any other student at the University does if they committed the same infraction. I don't condone the activities such as shoplifting, possession of marijuana, and other minor offenses, but everyone should get at least one redo.

However, I certainly hope and expect for Janzen to be on a short leash. I agree that repetition of behavior means you haven't learned anything.

Let me first say I'm a Vols supporter. There is a pattern here with him. Let him start over somewhere else if you really care about the kid. I'm thinking if he was a 3rd stringer walk on most if not all the people here wouldn't give two shats about him staying on the team. What's the message here?

cwmoss writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

FEARinSEC writes:

in response to cumberlandVOL:

if we want a program we can be proud of, i think we let him start coming to team activities and let him dress for UK but don't play him until the bowl game. I think if he plays in the UK game Kiffin might catch some flak for it. I think it's safe to let him start practicing again and hit the field in Tampa (hopefully).

Who cares if Kiffin catches flak?? Flak the haters!! We're here to play football and win ball games!! If the charges were dropped, then HE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!!! He's already been barred from ALL team functions for 2 weeks! He paid his penalty for being out past curfew, even though there is not a curfew.
He should be reinstated immediately (If not sooner!)

GO VOLS!!!!

FEARinSEC writes:

in response to cwmoss:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

((((YAWN))))

Ayres_Hall writes:

Yep, keep him suspended from play but allow him to practice and hold the blocking dummies for the walk-ons who are replacing him. Team first, Jackson later.

GreeneVol_TN writes:

I think Janzen has been walking a thin line. I wouldn't dismiss him from the team but I'm still not sure a suspension for the rest of the season would not be appropriate. CLK needs to make sure he gets his attention now, and who knows Janzen maybe one of our team leaders down the road telling Freshman, "don't do what I almsot did...". Just maybe anyway.

GO VOLS!

FEARinSEC writes:

in response to VolTex:

Let me first say I'm a Vols supporter. There is a pattern here with him. Let him start over somewhere else if you really care about the kid. I'm thinking if he was a 3rd stringer walk on most if not all the people here wouldn't give two shats about him staying on the team. What's the message here?

The message here is that WE ARE HERE TO WIN BALLGAMES!!

According to you, we should punish innocent people. What kink of message is that?? (besides and ignorant one?)

trollhair writes:

He still needs to be kicked off the team. What was he doing there? He knew what was going on.

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to VolTex:

He still should be let go. He clearly had some part in this even if a very small part. Didn't he also fail a drug test just a week before as well?

The DA disagrees with you as he was not even charged with a misdemeanor. Not being belligerent just saying I would hope a DA would cut my kid a similar break in these circumstances. We (nor anyone else outside of the UT athletic dept.) don't know why he was suspended earlier. Chris Lowe reported a failed drug test then couldn't back it up and hasn't mentioned it again. And we all know how much ESPN loves UT! That said, he was in the car with some thugs and enough pot/paraphernalia to warrant a charge against the driver. Unfortunately, I doubt if Mr. Jackson will make it through to his NFL fortunes because his leash will now be so short, and his judgment is flawed enough, that he will be unable to keep his nose clean for two more years. Even a minor hiccup (like the unknown one mentioned above) from here on out will cost him his scholarship. I hope I'm wrong and I think Kiffin is right to give him a second chance but unlike Fulmer, in the program today I don't think there are any chances numbered higher than 2! Hope he proves me wrong. Go Vols!!!

the10sevol writes:

in response to cumberlandVOL:

if we want a program we can be proud of, i think we let him start coming to team activities and let him dress for UK but don't play him until the bowl game. I think if he plays in the UK game Kiffin might catch some flak for it. I think it's safe to let him start practicing again and hit the field in Tampa (hopefully).

i don't think kiff gives a rat's patooty about "flak". purely his and hamilton's call.

GBO

FEARinSEC writes:

in response to trollhair:

He still needs to be kicked off the team. What was he doing there? He knew what was going on.

Your screen name says it all....

(Move on, nothing to see here!)

TennesseeJed writes:

Let the kid play. The charges were dropped, even KPD suggests he knew nothing about what happened and he even cooperated with their questions. He missed 2 games which seems an appropriate punishment.

gnm53108 writes:

I'm glad we have someone making a couple of mil thats going to be making the decision on JJ's future instead of a bunch of lynch posters.

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to cumberlandVOL:

if we want a program we can be proud of, i think we let him start coming to team activities and let him dress for UK but don't play him until the bowl game. I think if he plays in the UK game Kiffin might catch some flak for it. I think it's safe to let him start practicing again and hit the field in Tampa (hopefully).

He's gonna catch flak anyway because of Jackson's status on the team, now and for the future. That's unfortunate because like another poster said, any other student would not have been punished at all, even for the arrest, let alone after all charges were dropped. I say let him play if all charges were truly dropped - what would be the rationale for keeping him out another game if the DA says he is innocent? He's already missed two games just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And folks should remember, the DA used all the interviews, including those with Richardson and Edwards. Those two certainly would have no reason to exonerate Jackson once they were kicked off the team. Nope, as hard as it is to believe, I think he is innocent and I just can't see continuing to punish him or the rest of the team at this point. Go Vols!!!

DennisVols writes:

Seeing how this report states the Jackson cooperated and assisted the police and the criminal charges have been dropped if Jackson has done the necessary things concerning any team discipline that may have been given then he should be available as soon as he is ready.
Enough of this accusing Jackson of failing a drug test. That was a rumor started by an ESPN reported that said he "thought", not had facts or seeing official documents supporting what he "thought". So as far as what anyone outside of the UT admin knows he skipped a class or missed a practice.
It is funny how people are quick to falsely accuse someone when if it happened to them they would be screaming mad about it. Kiffin did the right thing here. He did not make a hasty decision concerning any of those involved, he waited on the facts, which is more than can be said for a lot of people.
Keeping it Real
Go Vols!!!

TheFuj writes:

The problem I have is that Jackson was out at 1:00am with 3 other people with marijuana. Also, a pellet gun in the car. How many college students drive around with a pellet gun? The fact that Jackson was out JUST AFTER he was suspended for the previous game is a big problem. Regardless of what he was or was not doing, it is just the fact that he was out again right after being suspended.

VolTex writes:

in response to volsrock54:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I guess he got suspended a week before the incident for nothing either? Knox P.D. took how long to finally drop charges? Was he or was he not in that car? I hope he can turn it around but history says he wont. Again, if he was a 3rd string walk on people wouldn't give a damn.

ctownvol writes:

Reinstate him immediately. He has been cleared of any wrongdoing on that night. Cleared by people who investigated the facts, yet people who have no clue what happened, nor talked to anyone who does know want him gone. Let the kid play.

JenB (Inactive) writes:

in response to VolTex:

He still should be let go. He clearly had some part in this even if a very small part. Didn't he also fail a drug test just a week before as well?

If he did clearly have anything to do with it, the charges wouldnt have been dropped...
As far as the drug test goes... I heard he was in a fight on the strip and I also heard that he was late to many times. Depends on which "reliable" source you choose to believe

tennesseebee writes:

If he didn't do anything, take him to Lexington. I think a 2-game suspension would appease the NCAA for simply being in the wrong place at the right time. Beat The Kats!!

makelemonade writes:

I've always said you are known by the company you keep. If he had been out running around with a couple of gang bangers and this had happened, I would say get rid of him, guilty or not. But since the the gang bangers were his teamates, it's a little different situation. You can say, watch out who you hang out with from now on but if you can't hang out with your teamates, somethings wrong. I say, reinstate him right away but let him know that even the slightest screw up and he's gone. Counting the Memphis game, he's already missed 3 games and that's should be punishment enough. JMO

SIMSVOL writes:

The people with all the facts dropped the charges against Jackson. Let him play Saturday.

realitycheck writes:

Never underestimate the power of an expensive attorney(Bosch). You will notice the DA didn't exonnerate Jackson, just said they couldn't get a conviction.

VolGraduate writes:

Yes!!!

msghoops writes:

It get's old reading posts about JJ hanging around with thugs. Those thugs were his roommates and teamates that CLK and MH put him into position to be around. Granted JJ is walking a tightrope with past actions but if there are bad apples the administration and coaches need to cut them loose asap or risk further problems for other athletes being in the wrong place at the wrong time with a teammate.

tennrich1 writes:

I am as conservative a man as you will find, however we MUST look at the evidence or lack there of.....There are dozens, yea hundreds, of successful citizens who have been down this road...Let him back with a VERY short lease and i think this kid had the right upbringing to overcome...

516milesfromUT writes:

in response to cwmoss:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

you're about as exciting as nick sabans, bill cosby type sweaters!!!!
GBO!

Pullingguard writes:

Why all the fuss, the kid was in the wrong place at the wrong time with people whom he never thought would commit a crime... Play him Saturday, Make him honorary Captain, Lets get over this people, and of all places to take such a hard viewpoint... Knoxville.... Come on its not the city witout Sin, but trying to hang this kid out to dry is just too much...

SaintLouisVol writes:

in response to VolTex:

He still should be let go. He clearly had some part in this even if a very small part. Didn't he also fail a drug test just a week before as well?

Did you read this?

The DA's office said in a press release that the decision "was made after an intensive investigation by the Knoxville Police Department, numerous interviews of persons with any relevant information on these charges and reveiws of more than 10 hours of video and audio records related to the charges."

"The investigation and careful review of all relevant evidence failed to show ... Ms. Montmarquet or Mr. Jackson has prior knowledge that the attempted robbery was going to take place and were unaware something had occurred until after they pulled out of the Pilot store," according to the DA's statement.

So the DA spends that much effort yet you maintain that he "clearly" had something to do with it?

You're ridiculous.

the10sevol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

after seeing your pic on facebook, i think you'll take the "best-dressed pimp" award this year, witchie...

GBO

finn writes:

It amazes me how many people want to ruin a kid's life for making a stupid decision or simply having bad luck. The DA has dropped charges but we should still 'teach this kid a lesson????' That is complete cr@p. What if he was your son? (and please don't be stupid enough to say my son would never be in that position in the first place.) Would you want his future trashed so the coach could send a message??

asleep#212036 writes:

I think we should all put ourselves in Jackson's position. According to the DA, you knew nothing of the robbery. You didn't plan it, didn't participate in it, and cooperated completely with the KPD once apprehended. They interviewed lots of folks, watched hours and hours of video, talked extensively to the victims and the actual robbers, and decided you are absolutely innocent of any crime, something you had told the cops and your coach from day one. Your coach and AD decide to suspend you from all team activities pending the full investigation - fair enough, no comment from you. During that time and in your absence, your team is mauled by Ole Miss and struggles much more than expected against Vandy. Now the DA confirms to your coach and the public that you were in fact, completely innocent. You are relieved and can't wait to get back on the field. Then some of your team's fans say you should still be kicked off the team or held out longer. They say you are a bad apple and should be shown the door. You failed a drug test, they say. You were hanging with thugs. You are a pothead. None of them even know you or anything about you. It's all rumors and innuendo and you were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. You just want another chance to prove your critics wrong. You just want to play football. And why shouldn't you get that chance? What possible reason could the coach have for holding you out any longer? The DA said no evidence you committed a crime. No evidence at all. What gives?

I'm no bleeding heart (really a die-hard conservative) but when you look at it like that, it puts a different spin on it, don't you think? Go Vols!!!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

"To err is human, to forgive is divine".

I say "divine" his patoot out on that football field corner Sat night and let's get on with it.

Beat the Wildcats! (large order).

VolTex writes:

in response to SaintLouisVol:

Did you read this?

The DA's office said in a press release that the decision "was made after an intensive investigation by the Knoxville Police Department, numerous interviews of persons with any relevant information on these charges and reveiws of more than 10 hours of video and audio records related to the charges."

"The investigation and careful review of all relevant evidence failed to show ... Ms. Montmarquet or Mr. Jackson has prior knowledge that the attempted robbery was going to take place and were unaware something had occurred until after they pulled out of the Pilot store," according to the DA's statement.

So the DA spends that much effort yet you maintain that he "clearly" had something to do with it?

You're ridiculous.

Basically their was evidence but not enough to go to trial is what they are saying. Good luck to him and hopefully there will not be a strike 3 for him. Hopefully this distraction will not cost them the Kentucky game like it did with the Ole Miss game.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features