Chris Washburn, North Carolina State's star freshman center, pleaded guilty yesterday to charges stemming from his theft of another student's stereo system and was sentenced to six years in prison with all but three days of it suspended.
Washburn, 19, entered his guilty plea as part of an agreement between his lawyers and prosecutors. Wake County (N.C.) Circuit Court Judge Milton Reid, in accepting Washburn's plea, ordered five years of the six-year sentence suspended and ordered Washburn to do community work in lieu of all but three days of the one year that was not suspended.
N.C. State officials refused comment yesterday on whether Washburn's status with the basketball team -- suspended indefinitely -- would be changed. However, it was learned that Coach Jim Valvano has no plans to reinstate him this season.
Washburn, a 6-foot-11 center from Hickory, N.C., played in seven State games in December before his arrest Dec. 21 on charges that he removed $800 of stereo equipment from the dorm room of William West, a State football player.
Valvano threw him off the team and said he would not allow him to return this season. Later, though, Valvano said he would wait to see the outcome of the case before making a final decision.
Yesterday in court in Raleigh, Washburn answered, "Yes sir," when Reid asked him if he was guilty of the three lesser charges agreed to: two counts of breaking and entering and a charge of taking the stereo equipment with "fraudulent intent."
As part of a plea agreement, Washburn consented to a 20-point probation order, which included provisions that he get mental health treatment, perform 320 hours of community service and pay $1,000 to a crime victims' fund. Washburn must satisfy his probation officer in two weeks that he has started community service. He was ordered to wash police cars, work at a day care center for mentally retarded children and perform housekeeping tasks at a halfway house.
"Whether or not you are going to play basketball will be a decision for responsible officials" at N.C. State to make, Reid told Washburn.
Washburn declined comment when he left the courtroom.