Maryland Chief Medical Examiner John E. Smialek said yesterday that toxicological tests showed no evidence of prior cocaine use by Rico Marshall, the Forestville High School football star who died of an overdose Feb. 13.
However, the medical examiner said the results of tests on vital organs don't rule out the possibility of Marshall's having used the drug before Feb. 13.
No other drugs were identified, Smialek said, and no other tests are planned. On Feb. 16, Smialek said that tests confirmed that the 18-year-old died of cocaine intoxication.
Since Marshall's death, his family and some friends have said they were shocked by allegations of his involvement with drugs and rejected the notion that he was a drug user. Yesterday's news from the medical examiner was welcomed by Marshall's grandmother, Mary Brooks.
"I'm glad to hear that because we knew he wasn't a cocaine user. We knew he wasn't a drug abuser," Brooks said. "He told us he didn't use cocaine and he said that regularly. He loved life too much."
Police say Marshall died a few hours after swallowing six "rocks" of crack, a cocaine derivative, to avoid arrest by officers in the 1400 block of Nova Avenue in Capitol Heights, a notorious drug-trading area.
The medical examiner's tests showed that "the levels of cocaine and its breakdown products are consistent with its having been ingested by Mr. Marshall two to three hours prior to his death."
After his death, it was learned that Marshall had been arrested in the same Capitol Heights neighborhood on Dec. 22, and was accused of having 66 plastic bags of crack. Marshall was then 17 and was charged as a juvenile, police said.