Ex-MSU football players may be weighing plea deal

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Former Michigan State University football players accused of sexually assaulting a woman may be considering a plea agreement.

Josh King, Donnie Corley and Demetric Vance are facing criminal charges involving an incident that allegedly occurred on campus in January. All three of them allegedly forced an MSU student to perform sexual acts in an apartment on campus, said Karen Truszkowski, the attorney for the victim in the case.

A meeting was held Friday that included discussion of a possible plea deal, according to Mary Chartier, an East Lansing-based attorney representing Vance.

“As a criminal defense attorney, it’s my job to explore all options for my clients,” Chartier said via email. “Today was an informal meeting and just part of the process.”

Officials for the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office declined to comment for legal reasons.

Attorneys for King and Corley couldn’t be reached for comment.

But a Cobbs hearing for the defendants was held Friday, said Truszkowski.

In a Cobbs hearing, a judge may tell defendants what sentences they could likely receive if they enter a plea to their charges. However, a judge can decide whether to follow those recommendations at sentencing. When that happens, defendants have the right to withdraw their pleas and the case is set for trial.

Truzskowski said the hearing was held in the judge’s chambers and not on the record. If there are any proposed plea agreements, prosecutors and the defendants’ attorneys have not shared details about them with her.

“They wouldn’t,” she said. “I’m not really a part of that. You can infer something is brewing, but I have no details.”

Still, she said she thinks a plea agreement in the case isn’t a bad idea.

“In general, I think the majority of the time it’s a good idea if everyone is in agreement,” she said. “It’s always difficult for the survivor to go through a trial, to go through testimony. It re-victimizes them all over again.”

The three defendants are scheduled to appear next in court at 1 p.m. Nov. 16 for a pretrial hearing before Judge Rosemarie Aquilina.

Initially, each of the three faced different criminal sexual conduct charges.

King, 19, of Darien, Ill., was charged with a count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and a count of capturing an image of an unclothed person. The first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge carried a penalty of up to life in prison.

Meanwhile, Corley, 19, and Vance, 20, both of Detroit, were charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct, a 15-year felony.

Police accused King of sexually assaulting a woman in a bathroom during a Jan. 16 party in MSU’s University Village apartments.

After the attack, King allegedly let two friends into the bathroom and they also sexually assaulted her.

Each of the players was dismissed from the MSU football team by coach Mark Dantonio in early June after charges were authorized. The next month they were dismissed by the university as well.


Kim Kozlowski contributed