Former Citadel players, student sentenced to 30 years for home invasions

Miguel Starks
Miguel Starks
Stephen Francois
Stephen Francois
Reginald Rice
Reginald Rice

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A judge has sentenced former Citadel QB Miguel Starks to 30 years for two home invasions one of which included a plot to rob a Citadel coach.

Also sentenced on Tuesday were former Citadel player Reginald Rice and former College of Charleston student Stephen Francois who both received 30 years for their part in the home invasions.

Police say the trio 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 another home invasion, 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.

In this home invasion, the residents were forced to the ground, bound and blinded with duct tape, before the male victim was assaulted and the female victim sexually assaulted, according to police reports.

All three men's parents were present at the sentencing and spoke. Reginald Rice's mother said,"He made some bad choices. I'm gonna cry because I love you."

"To my son, I'm sorry I failed you but I love you unconditionally. I'm begging for mercy," Starks' mother said.

"Your honor, I'd like to bring him back," said Francois' father. "My deepest sympathy to the families."

Rice and Francois have been sitting in the Charleston County jail for more than a year. Two months ago all three pleaded guilty to kidnapping and armed robbery in two home invasions in February of 2010.

Breanna Bruster pleaded guilty in February and is out on bond. She was scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday but has been rescheduled. Former CofC student Sasha Gaskins is the fifth suspect and is also set to be sentenced.

She was found guilty at the beginning of March of armed robbery and kidnapping.

Harpe said after the sentencing,"It'll be tough. You personally invest at the college level in someone and to be betrayed like that...that does a number on you."

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