Illini football players charged with robbery, burglary

Malcolm Fuller
May 18, 2017

Lee is scheduled to be arraigned on those charges in Champaign County court on May 11.

According to police reports sophomores Darta Lee and Zarrian Holcombe and freshman Howard Watkins forced their way into an on-campus residence Wednesday morning. Daniels noted Holcombe played seven games, mostly on special teams.

Three UI football players have been officially charged after police say they were involved in a robbery.

They proceeded to announce the robbery and held what officials identified as a fake firearm but were interrupted when the victim recognized one of their voices.

Officers of the Champaign Police Department state men were wearing masks and entered an apartment ( where some of the players live) in an effort to rob the person inside. "One of them produces what he believed to be a gun". Video from another surveillance camera showed Holcombe and Watkins leaving the building not long after the holdup, Ziegler said.

If convicted, the three of them could be going to jail for a while.

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"I can say they described it as a prank or a joke", Ziegler said.

Both charges filed Thursday are Class 1 felonies.

"It's not a very smart thing to do", Champaign Police Department Deputy Chief Troy Daniels said, according to, "to go into someone's house armed, and even with a fake gun with masks on".

The charges carry a mandatory prison term of 4-15 years on each count if they're found guilty.

"If it had been a real gun, it would have been home invasion", he said. Watkins, from Cincinnati, is a Class of 2017 recruit who enrolled at IL in January.

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