Charges against two University of Maryland football players allegedly involved in an incident in a campus dormitory in November were reduced yesterday in preliminary hearings in District Court of Maryland for Prince George's County.
Andrew Smith, 18, of Laurel, and Scott Smith, 18, of Philadelphia, now are charged with fourth-degree burglary, a misdemeanor. Both had been charged with first-degree burglary, a felony.
Other charges against each player were amended and one charge against Scott Smith was dropped.
Charges against Andrew Smith were amended to conspiracy to commit fourth-degree burglary and second-degree assault. He had been charged with third-degree burglary and theft of less than $300.
Prosecutors dropped a charge of third-degree burglary against Scott Smith. In addition, a charge of theft of less than $300 was amended to conspiracy to commit fourth-degree burglary. He remains charged with second-degree assault.
Both Smiths, who are not related, declined to comment after leaving the courtroom.
"We're happy the felony count was dropped," said Steven Vinick, an attorney representing Andrew Smith.
Two other players charged in connection with the incident, Michael Whaley and Jamar Perrin, have preliminary hearings scheduled this month. The four players, who were redshirt freshmen this past season, have been suspended from the team by Coach Ron Vanderlinden pending the outcome of their cases.
A former player who quit the team in September, 18-year-old Ed Simms, is scheduled to stand trial Jan. 26 for his role in the incident.
According to charging documents filed by campus police, Simms and the four players entered an unlocked but closed door to an apartment seeking to recover a bicycle that had been stolen from Simms. Simms confronted a resident of the apartment, who then was struck by Simms and later hit and kicked by at least two people.
Simms then kicked in another door while searching for the bicycle. After the bicycle was located, the charging documents stated, Andrew Smith took it from the dormitory and rode it to Simms's residence.