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Ex-MSU star Appling to be tried on gun charge

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News
The preliminary examination for former Michigan State guard Keith Appling was adjourned Thursday, rescheduled for July 19. Appling was due in court on a concealed weapons charge from a mid-June traffic stop on Detroit’s east side.

Former Michigan State basketball star Keith Appling was ordered Tuesday to stand trial for allegedly carrying a concealed weapon in Detroit last month.

Judge Kenneth King of 36th District Court set an arraignment on information for Aug. 2 on the Detroit case after a preliminary examination Tuesday for Appling on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon, a felony.

It is the second gun case for Appling in just the past 2 1/2 months. He has a court hearing in Dearborn District Court for July 29 involving charges there.

Two Detroit police officers testified during the hearing Tuesday. The officers said they stopped a speeding vehicle, allegedly driven by Appling’s brother Kenneth early on June 18.

During that stop, one of the officers, Jonathan Gardner, testified he saw the handle of a handgun where Keith Appling was sitting in the vehicle. The officers also said Keith Appling was seen trying to stuff a white T-shirt containing a magazine fitting for the handgun behind an infant car seat.

Keith Appling allegedly told the officers that the gun was his and that it was registered. Officers said no paperwork on the police stop was ever produced showing that Keith Appling said he had a permit to carry the gun.

But his defense attorney, Cyril Hall, disputed the officers’ account, saying that Keith Appling was not carrying the handgun, which was registered. Hall said the handgun belonged to the third passenger in the vehicle.

Hall argued during the hearing that police did not have probable cause to search the area where Keith Appling was sitting.

But King said once the officer’s saw the handle of the handgun, they were justified in searching the car and the area where Keith Appling was sitting.

King said “it would have been a dereliction of duty” for officers not to investigate.

“The officers had a duty to investigate for their safety and the safety of their partner,” the judge said.

Hall said he was disappointed his client will be tried on the gun charge.

“We disagree with the facts (presented),” said Hall. He said if Keith Appling had a gun, then “they would have put that in the (police) report. No question it was someone else’s gun.”

Hall said Appling still has a “good future,” noting he has a college degree.

In the Dearborn case, Keith Appling is charged in connection with a May 1 police stop outside a Michigan Avenue club. Police were called around 6:47 p.m. to the Pantheon Club in the 12900 block of Michigan. Security officers allegedly observed a man pulling a gun out of the trunk of a car in the parking lot of the club. Police arrived at the club’s parking lot and allegedly saw Keith Appling in the driver’s seat of the car security had described.

After a search, police say they found a handgun under the driver’s seat, a small amount of what they believe to be marijuana, and a loaded weapon in the trunk. Keith Appling cooperated with police and was arrested at the scene.

Appling, a former Michigan State guard, was charged with a felony and two misdemeanors.

Hall says he believes his client was racially profiled by Dearborn Police looking for other suspects.

“Here’s a young man who has no criminal record whatsoever,” Hall said after the arraignment in Dearborn in May. “There’s no reason for him to have been stopped. That’s the problem.”

Appling played in the NBA and NBA Development League this season.

Hall called the marijuana charges false, saying Appling doesn’t use the drug. Hall said he has advised Appling to be tested for marijuana.


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