The Times West Virginian

Sports

July 15, 2014

WVU player arrested in Delaware case

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood has been arrested by university police and is being held at North Central Regional Jail awaiting extradition on a felony warrant out of Delaware.

Smallwood, a 20-year-old sophomore out of Wilmington, Delaware, was arrested as a fugitive from justice. He was wanted for witness intimidation, a felony in Delaware.

If it is simple intimidation of witness, it is a Class D felony and carries a penalty of up to eight years in prison; if aggravate intimidation of a witness, it becomes a Class B felony that carries a penalty of up to 25 years in prison.

WVU police chief Bob Roberts said early Tuesday afternoon they had received a phone call from the Wilmington police department asking if he could make arrangements for them to come to town to interview Mr. Smallwood, which they did.

“We were able to locate Mr. Smallwood and he came voluntarily into our station. After completing the interview they had a warrant for witness intimidation,” Roberts said.

“They wanted us to get a warrant for a fugitive from justice, which we did. We took him to magistrate where he was arraigned. They did an extradition hearing and he was then taken to the regional jail, and to my knowledge he is still there.”

Roberts said the warrant gave Delaware up to 30 days to do the extradition and that he believed Smallwood would remain in North Central Regional Jail until the extradition was executed.

According to Wilmington police Cpl. Mark Ivy in a story in the Wilmington News-Journal, Smallwood attempted to get a witness to recant statements implicating a friend of his charged with first-degree murder.

The fatal shooting occurred April 14, 2012, in the 2700 block of West Fourth Street. Wilmington resident Manuel Oliveras, 51, was fatally shot about 9 p.m. in the front courtyard of a row home near Greenhill Avenue and West Fourth Street.

Zakee Lloyd, then 19, of the 300 block of East 24th Street in Wilmington, was arrested Jan. 8, 2013, charged with first-degree murder and is awaiting trial.

On multiple occasions in March and May 2013, Ivey said, Smallwood “called to try to get a witness to come and make a false statement to police recanting previous statements” that implicated Lloyd.

Police did not disclose how Smallwood was identified in the alleged witness tampering attempt or how the matter came to authorities’ attention.

West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen issued the following statement:

“I have been briefed on the situation regarding Wendell Smallwood. We are looking into the matter and will take action at the appropriate time.”

Smallwood is expected to be a key cog in the Mountaineer offense this year. He is listed as the No. 2 running back behind Dreamius Smith in the post-spring depth chart, but due to his versatility he is being counted upon to wear many hats, serving both as a running back and receiver.

He rushed for 221 yards and one touchdown as a true freshman last season while catching 11 passes for 132 yards. He also returned 30 kickoffs, averaging 18 yards a return.

The coaching staff spent last season grooming Smallwood to become the replacement for All-Big 12 performer Charles Sims, following him around to watch how he worked and approached the job.

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