Nu’Keese Richardson, one of a three University of Tennessee football players charged with attempted armed robbery, pleaded guilty Monday to a reduced charge of attempted robbery.
Knox County Criminal Court Judge Mary Beth Leibowitz approved a plea agreement by which Richardson will be placed on probation for three years, during which time he must be a full-time student or employed full time.
Richardson was originally scheduled Monday for a preliminary hearing. Instead he waived his rights and entered a plea to the lesser offense. After the court proceedings were completed, he sat in the courtroom for about a minute with his head in his hands.
“Basically, I’ve learned my lesson about what happens when you make stupid mistakes,” he said later, with his attorney, Bruce Poston, at his side. “I do not want to ever be in a predicament like this again.”
Dismissed from the team because of the incident, he has since enrolled at Hampton (Va.) University. If he completes the terms of his probationary period and does not run afoul of the law again, he can have the conviction expunged from his record.
Richardson, former teammates Mike Edwards and Janzen Jackson and fellow UT student Marie Lynn Montmarquet were charged with attempted armed robbery after three men reported they were the victims of a robbery attempt Nov. 12 at the Pilot convenience store on Cumberland Avenue. The Knoxville Police Department later arrested the suspects, and seized a pellet gun.
All three players were suspended from the team. Richardson and Edwards were later dismissed by coach Lane Kiffin. Jackson was reinstated after the charges against him were dropped. Charges against Montmarquet also were dropped, but she still faces possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia charges.
Knox County District Attorney General Randy Nichols said that a review of the evidence, including surveillance video and taped interviews, failed to show Jackson or Montmarquet had prior knowledge of a robbery attempt.
A preliminary hearing for Edwards is scheduled for Jan. 20.
Jim Balloch may be reached at 865-342-6315.