Wildcat football player indicted on felony charges

By Joseph Altman Jr.

Arizona Daily Wildcat

A UA football player was indicted on felony charges Tuesday and three other players were also cited for their involvement in an assault on May 21.

Derrick Stewart, a 23-year-old media arts junior and starting cornerback, was indicted on charges of aggravated assault, using a deadly weapon and causing serious injury.

Gary Taylor, a sociology junior and starting tailback; Brandon Sanders, a media arts senior and starting strong safety; and Shawn Parnell, a political science senior and free safety, were also cited for assault and disorderly conduct in the incident which occurred at a party for Pacific 10 Conference athletes, held May 21 at the Holiday Inn, 181 W. Broadway.

In an unrelated incident, Taylor and his twin brother, Cary Taylor, a sociology senior and starting wide receiver, were cited Tuesday on misdemeanor charges for giving false information to police. The charges stemmed from an incident in which the suspect of a Nov. 9, 1994, gang murder in San Diego allegedly stayed with the Taylors following the murder.

Pima County Deputy Attorney Gerald Piccirilli said the assault charges stemmed from violence that began when words were exchanged between the victim, an airman at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and the girlfriend of one of the players.

According to police reports, officers responded to a "large fight" and found the victim with injuries to his mouth. He was transported to Tucson Medical Center and underwent surgery for a broken jaw.

Witnesses told police the victim was hit with a flashlight or microphone.

Piccirilli said Stewart has been served with a summons and will have to appear in court within 10 days of the indictment to be informed of the charges; at that point a judge will set conditions of release.

If the case goes to trial and Stewart is convicted, he could face a prison term of five to 15 years, Piccirilli said.

In the meantime, Stewart has been suspended from the football team indefinitely while the matter is being investigated. The other three players involved have not been sanctioned by the team.

Arizona coach Dick Tomey said, "With an accusation like this, we try to find out more.

"We really don't know anything about (the indictment), we just know what the charge is, but the suspension is designed to give us a chance to find out more about it," he said.

"I'm just concerned with Derrick right now. It's just like you'd be concerned for one of your children," Tomey said.

None of the players would comment on the charges.

Wildcat reporter Craig Sanders contributed to this story.

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