Alabama Basketball Player Devonta Pollard Charged in Kidnapping of Child
Alabama forward Devonta Pollard was one of three additional people to be indicted on charges connected to the kidnapping of Jashayla Hopson in Kemper County, Miss., on Tuesday.
Pollard, Joyce Johnigan and Shaquayla Johnigan were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit the kidnapping of Hopson. Kemper County sheriff James Moore said that he expects to make an additional arrest in the case.
The story was first reported by WTOK-TV's official website.
UPDATE: Wednesday, June 5, at 4:50 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo
According to Stephanie Taylor of Tuscaloosanews.com,
"The four-count indictment charging the seven defendants was released Wednesday by U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis, attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi. According to the document, Jessie Pollard spoke with school secretary Wanda Faye Dancy, 52, who told her that Jashayla was in the school library and what she was wearing. Pollard sent Shamarious Ruffin, 25, into the school, where she told the girl's teacher that “Miss Wanda said it was all right” to take her, according to the indictment.
The indictment states that Devonta Pollard met with his mother and Ruffin in a church parking lot earlier that day. He delivered a screwdriver and wrench to them before Ruffin told him “we fixin' to do some crazy s---,” the indictment states."
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Hopson, 6, was first reported missing on April 30 after failing to come home after school. She was reportedly abducted from her elementary school, with fear that her kidnappers were taking her across state lines. For reasons unknown, the kidnapper later dropped Hopson off at a local home, where authorities were contacted.
It later came to light that the main suspect in the case was Jesse Mae Brown Pollard, Devonta's mother. Jesse Mae, 54, was charged with the kidnapping after security cameras captured her buying a phone with a number connected to a threatening text message sent to Hopson's mother. According to AL.com's Chris Pow, the message said, "dont call the police I will call you later if you call the police u wont see [Jashayla] again."
Here is an excerpt from Pow's story with more incriminating details:
The ensuing investigation found this text came from a phone purchased at a Walmart store in Bessemer. Surveillance footage showed Pollard purchasing the same type of phone around 3:24 p.m. that day. A call around 4:10 p.m. to the victim's mother from that phone was disconnected, but the call was traced to the store. At approximately 4:44 p.m., the phone associated with the same number connected with a cell tower in Vance.
Per Pow's report, the kidnapping stems from a dispute between Jashayla's mother and Jesse Mae.
The story took an extra life when it was revealed that police had searched Devonta's car, finding it similar to the one reportedly used in the kidnapping. Investigators claim to have found a hotel key and receipts for the cell phones allegedly used to threaten Hopson’s mother.
On the basis of that and other evidence, it seems police feel they have enough to charge Devonta with connection to the kidnapping.
A star at Kemper County High School, Pollard was one of Alabama's biggest recruiting triumphs in some time. 247Sports' composite rankings deemed the 6'8" small forward a 5-star recruit, listing him as the No. 25 recruit in the nation. Pollard was also considered the top player in Mississippi and was named to the 2012 McDonald's All-American team.
Though he came in with prodigious hype, Pollard's first year on campus did not produce superstar results. Pollard averaged just 3.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game as a freshman, failing to find consistent playing time. He scored in double-digits just twice the entire season, not once after Jan. 8.
There have been no statements released at this time by Alabama or Pollard's representation.
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