Former Citadel football players plead guilty to robbery charges

Miguel Starks, left and Reginald Rice, right.
Miguel Starks, left and Reginald Rice, right.

By Nicole Johnson  bio | email | Twitter

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Three men who authorities say robbed an assistant Citadel football coach have pleaded guilty in court Wednesday afternoon.

Authorities with the Charleston Police Department and Charleston County Sheriff's Office charged former Citadel quarterback Miguel Starks, former Citadel football player Reginald Rice and former College of Charleston student Stephen Francois for involvement in two separate robberies that happened in February 2010.

The three defendants faced Judge Markley Dennis for a plea hearing Wednesday and all three pleaded guilty to the charges against them.

The judge asked each man separately that before entering guilty pleas, if their lawyers explained the serious nature and punishment for these crimes. The defendants said yes and entered guilty pleas.

The judge still has to sentence them pending further investigation. The deferred sentencing was at the request of the solicitor. Each could face up to 30 years in prison.

For the most serious of the charges, the men could have faced life in prison, but there was an agreement to cap sentencing at 30 years.

"He comes down, where he is immediately confronted by Mr. Rice with a gun. He drops to his knees, drops his cell phone. They take him back upstairs. They duck tape him, and begin ransacking his apartment," said Solicitor Scarlett Wilson of the incident.

Police say the suspects robbed Citadel assistant football coach Joshua Harpe at his West Ashley apartment. Authorities say the suspects held Harpe at gunpoint, tied him up and stole electronics, jewelry and his wallet.

In the Charleston County robbery, deputies say the suspects forced a James Island couple to give up their ATM cards and pin numbers and also stole a DVD player, flatscreen TV and several DVDs from the couple's home.

Charleston Police charged Starks and Rice with first degree burglary, kidnapping, armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. Police charged Francois with first degree burglary, kidnapping and armed robbery.

The Charleston County Sheriff's office also charged the three men with first degree burglary, kidnapping, armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.

Starks is also charged with first degree criminal sexual conduct during the James Island robbery. According to an affidavit from the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, Starks forced a woman to perform a sex act while pointing a gun at her.

Charleston Police also arrested former College of Charleston student Sasha Gaskins with accessory after the fact in connection with the robbery at the assistant football coach's home. Police say she called Harpe's home that night claiming she had car trouble, and the suspects forced their way into his home after he opened his garage to help her.

A fifth suspect, Breanna Bruster, was charged with armed robbery, also in connection with the Charleston case.

Stay tuned to and Live 5 News starting at 4 for the latest information that comes from court.

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