Powell: Not enough evidence to charge Ward - FOX34 Lubbock

Powell: Not enough evidence to charge Ward

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LUBBOCK -

The District Attorney's office is not pursuing charges against Texas Tech football player, Da'Leon Ward.

His attorney said a traffic stop led to his arrest on a warrant from Texas Tech Police.

He was originally accused in June of stealing cell phones, but the DA said there isn't enough evidence.

Ward left the Lubbock County Detention Center around midnight. Wednesday morning at the Texas Tech Club Kickoff Luncheon, Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt announced he received a call from District Attorney Matt Powell, who told him his office dropped all charges against the running back.

"When I got here this morning and kind of found out the circumstances of it, had an opportunity to read the case myself and I felt like there was not enough evidence and they case shouldn't have been filed and so I had it dismissed this morning," Powell said.

Tray Payne, Ward's attorney, said Texas Tech PD presented the theft charge to the DA's office, but he called it an incomplete investigation.

"There was some video that clearly did not show my client, they could not identify my client, they were not even aware that my client was at the rec center, except for a possible ID and his ID in fact that we believe was taken and stolen by a friend at that time," Payne said.

That friend was a former walk on on the team. Payne said when Ward found out his teammate stole the cell phones, he returned them to their owners.

"I think that ties in to why there was maybe some probable cause and why it became such a problem, because he was in possession of them, only after he called and said hey man, someone's got my phones and we want to get them back, and actually tracked them to where this guy was staying with Da'Leon," Payne claimed.

The Student Conduct office cleared Ward with an investigation in June and told athletic administration.

The District Attorney is taking full responsibility of this case.

"There was a wrong decision made by one of our assistant DA's. I'm the boss, it's my name on the window, so I take full responsibility for that and that is what I've done today and what I'll always do," he said. "The good and the bad I take responsibility for all of those. I did that this morning, I've addressed it with that particular individual."

Powell said he learned about the arrest from an alert on his phone, when he typically knows about them well in advance. He said if he would've known earlier, he would've given Kirby Hocutt, Texas Tech's athletic director, a heads up.

Hocutt said Powell called him before noon Wednesday, which allowed him to announce the dismissal to a crowd at the luncheon.

"I think Coach Kingsbury has shown that he will not tolerate certain things around the program," Hocutt said. "However, when something like this unfolds and the facts are not what they may seem, or as their initially reported, we're going to stand by our young people. We invite them here and their parents and guardians trust us to look after their best interest."

"I wanted everyone to know as quickly as possible, this kid wasn't a thug or a thief or all the other things I'd seen him proclaimed as on social media, he's not. He's a good kid," Payne stressed.

Payne said when he last talked to Ward, he was looking forward to getting on the field September 1st against Ole Miss.


 

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