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Reported Threats Against Star's Brother Called 'Without Merit'

November 14, 1987|United Press International

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A state investigation has concluded that reports of threats used against a local basketball star's family in an effort to get him to sign with the University of South Carolina are "totally without merit," officials said.

Fifth Circuit Solicitor James Anders asked the State Law Enforcement Division and the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. this week to review claims that Lower Richland High School basketball player Stanley Roberts was told that his brother would be "jailed for the rest of his life" if Roberts, who recently signed to play at Louisiana State, did not choose to play at South Carolina.

The Columbia Record reported Thursday that Isabella Davis, Roberts' mother, said a man she recognized as a University of South Carolina employee made the threat against her older son, John Wayne Roberts, who has been charged with murder and assault in the death of a Richland County man.

Spokesman Hugh Munn, representing the state, said there were "one or two" witnesses still to be questioned, but the law-enforcement agency is satisfied so far that there is no basis to the reported threats, which Anders now says he believes are "totally without merit."

Davis claimed in the newspaper that someone she recognized from the university, where she works, came to her home last week and told her John Wayne Roberts' case could be used against the family.

"I don't know (the man's) name," Davis said. "I had seen his face. . . . He just said it would be best if Stanley didn't sign at LSU right now. He said if Stanley did not sign at (South Carolina), the other brother's trial would come up within the next two weeks. And he said that Wayne would (do) hard time."

Davis also said she received a call from "the judge at Eastover," who urged her to encourage her son to sign with South Carolina. The Eastover magistrate is Harold Hill, but the woman did not name him.

"The judge did call and ask me to talk to (Stanley)," she said. "He told me to talk to him and see if I could get him to sign (at South Carolina), and I told him I would see what I could do."

Hill admitted he called Davis but denied using any kind of pressure.

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