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  Charges Against Long, Gregg Dropped

By Keith Harriston
Washington Post Staff Writer
October 21, 1986

Prince George's County prosecutors dropped all criminal charges yesterday against University of Maryland basketball players Terry Long and David Gregg in exchange for their cooperation in the investigation of the cocaine death of basketball star Len Bias.

Prince George's State's Attorney Arthur A. (Bud) Marshall Jr. said he dismissed the misdemeanor charges of possessing cocaine and obstructing justice against Long and Gregg because they had testified "honestly and truthfully" before the grand jury last week and had "expressed remorse over the tragedy that took place."

"There was no legitimate benefit to pursue the case against them," Marshall said. "I felt it important to find out what happened in the room June 19. I think I did."

Assistant State's Attorney Jeffrey L. Harding said that Long and Gregg's cooperation will help bolster the prosecution's case against Brian Lee Tribble, whom Marshall has accused of supplying the cocaine that killed Bias and who has been indicted on four drug charges.

Prosecutors now can eliminate much circumstantial evidence that had been the core of the case against Tribble, Harding said.

Long and Gregg spent four hours testifying before the grand jury Thursday and provided the only firsthand accounts of what happened in the College Park dormitory suite where Bias collapsed in the early morning of June 19.

A source familiar with the investigation said Long and Gregg told grand jurors that after Bias collapsed, Tribble called the 911 emergency number and then scooped up more than an ounce of cocaine from a table and put it in his pocket. The source also said the two players told the grand jury that Bias had an abnormal physical reaction, in which his legs twitched twice, before he had a seizure and collapsed.

They testified that Tribble called his mother when Bias had the seizure and then, without hanging up the receiver, called 911, the source said.

Tribble was charged with distributing cocaine, possessing cocaine with intent to distribute, possessing cocaine and possessing PCP, a hallucinogen. He has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for trial Nov. 17.

In specifying exactly what happened to the cocaine that Tribble allegedly provided, Marshall said during the hearing yesterday that it was taken from Bias' leased Nissan 300ZX into the dormitory suite. Some cocaine ended up in a dumpster behind the dormitory, he said, and some ended up back in Bias' sports car. Marshall also said that some of the drugs brought into the room ended up in the bodies of Bias, Long and Gregg, Marshall said.

Tribble is charged with distributing and possessing all of that cocaine, Marshall said.

Prior to hearing testimony from Long and Gregg, prosecutors had based their conclusions on what happened in the hours before Bias collapsed about 6:30 a.m. on information from Bias' other dorm mates.

Jeff Baxter, one of the five players who shared the suite with Bias, had given investigators information about what happened in the room until about 3 a.m., Marshall said. "But we had no information about what occurred between 3:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m.," Marshall said.

Of particular interest, Marshall said, was how Bias ingested the cocaine that killed him. That question was first raised by the Bias family, he said. A review of the state medical examiner's autopsy report on Bias by doctors at Prince George's General Hospital concluded that Bias may have ingested the cocaine in a beer or soft drink. The state medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Bias' body said it was likely that the drug had been snorted.

Long, a senior, and Gregg, a sophomore, were charged with obstructing justice by allegedly removing evidence of drug use from the dormitory suite.

But yesterday Marshall said that only "one of the other students" removed evidence from the room. Another source said the other student was Long.

At the hearing yesterday, Circuit Court Judge James M. Rea denied a motion by Tribble's lawyer, Thomas Morrow, to dismiss the indictment against Tribble.

No decision has been made on the athletic eligibility of Gregg, sources at Maryland said yesterday.

The case is expected to be referred to the Student Judicial Board for a decision, because it involves a violation of the code of student conduct: possessing drugs in a dormitory.

Long cannot play basketball because the conditions of his reinstatement to the university after the first session of summer school specify that he not be allowed to play sports due to academic problems.

© 1986 The Washington Post Company

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