West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood, arrested on a felony charge of witness intimidation in a first-degree murder case, waived his preliminary hearing Monday, his case now being moved to Superior Court, where more serious crimes are argued, according to The News Journal.
That came one day before the man accused in the murder case, Zakee Lloyd, admitted to the April 2012 slaying of Manuel Oliveras, pleading guilty to second-degree murder on the morning jury selection was to begin.
Lloyd faces a mandatory 15 years to life in prison. Sentencing will come in November.
Wilmington, Delaware, police have said that on multiple occasions in March and May 2013, Smallwood called a state witness to try to get her to make a false statement to police, recanting her previous statements implicating Lloyd.
According to court records obtained by The News Journal, Smallwood was recorded last year in at least four phone conversations with a Young Correctional Institution inmate. The inmate’s name was redacted from court documents.
The Wilmington newspaper also uncovered a couple of weeks ago that court records showed Smallwood had a juvenile record, being ordered by a judge to write a letter to his mother apologizing for being part of a group that threw a glass bottle at a state trooper’s head when he was 13.
“I apologize for getting into this mess all over something stupid. But you can’t pin all of this on me because this wasn’t all my fault,” Smallwood wrote on a single sheet of notebook paper, which ended with an assurance to his mother. “So I promise that I’ll never get you into something like this and it’ll all pay off.”