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May 14, 2006

Texas RB charged with marijuana possession

BELTON, Texas - Texas running back Ramonce Taylor was charged Monday with possession of marijuana after what his attorney described as an incident in which the football player was confronted at a party and a window in his vehicle was broken out.

Taylor, who scored a touchdown in the Rose Bowl for the national champion Longhorns, was arraigned on a state jail felony charge of possession of marijuana over 4 ounces and under 5 pounds. He was released from the Bell County jail on $5,000 bail, according to a spokeswoman for the sheriff's department who declined to give her name.

A state jail felony carries up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine. District Attorney Henry Garza said the marijuana was sent to a lab for analysis, and that the charge could be upgraded later if the amount exceeds 5 pounds.

Taylor's attorney, Buck Harris, said the marijuana did not belong to the football player.

According to the sheriff, deputies received a report at 1:34 a.m. Sunday about a large fight at a pecan farm in Little River, about 40 miles north of Austin.

Deputies also received a call from someone who said they had been at the fight and complained a window on his vehicle had been broken. The caller turned out to be Taylor, who was interviewed by deputies at a convenience store.

Deputies said they were told by other officers at the fight scene that Taylor had been involved and had threatened to return with a gun.

Taylor told deputies he didn't have a gun and gave them permission to search his vehicle. Deputies reported finding a a live .40-caliber bullet and the backpack with the marijuana, which they said belonged to Taylor.

Harris has a different version of events: He said Taylor and three friends arrived at a party when the football player was confronted with "nonpolitically correct language." He declined to be specific.

"It was used specifically toward Ramonce, he backs up and got in the car, and they drove off. He did exactly what you want your child to do when they get in a bad situation: Leave," Harris said. "That's what he did, he got in the car, backed out and drove away."

As they were driving away, a brick or stone was thrown through their back window. Taylor drove to a convenience store and called 911 to report the incident to authorities, Harris said.

Harris said he didn't know the reason for the party or who was there.

"The perception from Ramonce that the comments were racial," Harris said. "I wasn't there and I haven't talked to enough people, but the tone and wording was such that Ramonce was smart enough to say, 'I don't need to be there.''

One of Texas' most versatile players, Taylor scored 15 touchdowns last season, including a 30-yard scoring run in the Rose Bowl, which Texas won 41-38. The win gave Texas its first outright national championship since 1969.

Taylor had been excused from spring practice in March to focus on academics and had not participated in any team functions since then, Longhorns Mack Brown said in a statement released by the school.

For more coverage of the Texas Longhorns, check out Orangebloods.com.



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