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Former Nebraska player charged with possessing marijuana

January 24, 1997

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ A former University of Nebraska football player subpoenaed to testify in an attempted murder case was charged Friday with marijuana possession.

Abdul Muhammad, 23, was subpoenaed by the defense to testify in the attempted second-degree murder trial in Lincoln of his former roommate and teammate Riley Washington in Lincoln. Muhammad was arrested Thursday at an Omaha mail store after he signed for a package police said contained four one-pound bags of marijuana.

Muhammad, a former wingback, was charged with one count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. said Deputy Douglas County Attorney David Johnson. His bond was set at $10,000 but was not posted by late Friday. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Feb. 18.

After completing the 1994 football season and catching four passes for 60 yards in the Cornhuskers’ 1995 national championship victory at the Orange Bowl, Muhammad worked as an undergraduate assistant for Coach Tom Osborne while finishing up his degree. Muhammad graduated last summer.

Washington is accused of shooting Jermaine Cole outside a convenience store in Lincoln in August 1995. Muhammad was at the scene when the shooting occurred.

A witness to Cole’s shooting, Israel Hawkins, testified in court Wednesday that Muhammad and Willis Brown, another Nebraska football player, assaulted Cole before the shooting and that gang insults were exchanged.

Hawkins said Muhammad stood behind Washington and encouraged him to shoot Cole, saying: ``Shoot (him). Get him.″

Lori Brown, an assistant to special prosecuting attorney Ron Lahners, said she did not know whether Muhammad’s arrest would affect the case. The attorneys handling Washington’s defense were in court Friday.

Omaha Police Sgt. Greg Hoffman said the U.S. Postal Inspector’s office received a tip that Muhammad would receive four pounds of marijuana in the mail from California.

Police and postal inspectors staked out a mail store, and Muhammad arrived at about 1 p.m. CST Thursday, Hoffman said.

Muhammad has no criminal record in Douglas County. He was found guilty of a misdemeanor for refusing to comply with an order of a police officer in a February 1995 incident in Lancaster County, and he was fined $200.

Muhammad was at a party at a Lincoln motel in January 1994 when a former player, Ramone Worthy, was stabbed during a fight. Muhammad also was injured at that party when he was pushed through a window.

Muhammad still has a bullet lodged in one buttock from a drive-by shooting in his hometown of Compton, Calif., in the summer of 1993.

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