Karlos Williams target of probe

ByMark Schlabach and Brett McMurphy ESPN logo
Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Tallahassee Police Department is investigating an alleged domestic assault involving Florida State running back Karlos Williams, the agency said in a news release issued Monday.

Williams, a senior from Davenport, Florida, is being investigated for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, who lives with him and is pregnant with the couple's second child, according to people familiar with the investigation.

"The athletics department is aware of an investigation by the Tallahassee Police Department involving football student-athlete Karlos Williams," the school said in a statement. "Until we receive more information regarding the alleged incident his status with the team will be under review."

Williams was in pads and practicing on Monday.The Seminoles, the defending national champions, play at Louisville on Thursday night.

In the news release, the TPD said it received the case on Saturday night and immediately assigned it to its criminal investigation division.

"As long as it's an active, ongoing case, Florida law prohibits us from talking about it," TPD spokesman Scott Beck told ESPN.com on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Florida State Attorney's office for the 2nd Judicial Circuit in Tallahassee last week attempted to interview Williams about a June 23 robbery of an FSU student. Williams declined to speak to an assistant state attorney and an investigator from the Tallahassee Police Department about the incident last week, state attorney Willie Meggs told ESPN.com.

On July 30, Tallahassee police arrested Daravius "Gutta" Lawrence, 17 at the time (and now 18), for his alleged role in a robbery of Freightlin Shooter Cox, a 26-year-old FSU senior and retired Marine. Cox told Tallahassee police that he was robbed by three men while purchasing marijuana at his home near FSU's Doak Campbell Stadium. But that purchase went awry, Cox told police, and he was robbed by two armed men.

Lawrence has been charged with robbery with a firearm, a first-degree felony, and faces an upcoming criminal trial as an adult. The two armed men haven't yet been arrested, according to sources close to the investigation.

Williams was listed as an "associate" of Lawrence on the initial TPD report, and TPD spokesman David Northway told ESPN.com that a police investigator attempted to interview him in late June.

"At that time, Mr. Williams agreed to come in for an interview on Monday of the next week [June 30]," Northway said. "He did not show up for the interview. The investigator did try to reach him, and [Williams' girlfriend] told the investigator that they had hired an attorney and would not be giving a statement."

Williams has not been arrested or charged in either case.

Quoted in the Palm Beach Post, Deputy Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman said of the robbery investigation: "The only indication [Williams] was involved is suspicion on the part of the victim. The victim in the case believes [Williams] was involved in setting up the robbery."

On Friday, Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher denied a report by a radio station in Jacksonville, Florida, that Williams would be suspended for unspecified violation of team rules. At the time, Fisher called it "another false report."

"There's another false report, and that's amazing how things happen," Fisher told reporters. "Whoever has sources, whoever has rumors, needs to check who they are talking to -- because that is about as far from truth as there is."

Fisher also said: "It's funny. That guy, who's a tremendous kid, a tremendous ambassador, I don't even know where that [suspension report] would come from. It kind of caught me off guard like 'Whoa.' Karlos has been wonderful."

Williams is No. 2 Florida State's leading rusher with 378 yards and seven touchdowns. He scored two touchdowns, including a go-ahead, 1-yard score in the fourth quarter of the Seminoles' 31-27 victory over No. 5 Notre Dame on Oct. 18.

Tim Jansen, who represented Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston during the investigation of an alleged sexual assault, is representing Williams for the alleged domestic violence investigation and as a witness to the alleged armed robbery.

"I have been informed by the investigator for the State's Attorney that Mr. Williams is not a suspect to the armed robbery incident back in June. In fact, I was told this morning that at most Mr. Williams might be a witness," Jansen said in a statement Tuesday. "It's unfortunate that authorities have leaked to the press false and misleading information. Using the term "associated" was an inflammatory device to inflame readers. It's irresponsible to lead the public to believe the Mr. Williams was somehow involved in the incident. I have also been informed by a prosecutor in the State Attorney's office that there is no current case for domestic battery against Mr. Williams."

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