Newspaper Says Bias Grand Jury Also Will Investigate Murder Precede WASHINGTON
BALTIMORE (AP) _ A grand jury will consider the possibility that a murder was committed in connection with the cocaine poisoning death of All-American basketball star Len Bias, a newspaper reported today.
Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Arthur A. Marshall Jr. said the murder issue is ″one of the matters the grand jury will be considering,″ The Baltimore Sun reported.
Marshall also Tuesday suggested that the University of Maryland might consider ″administrative remedies″ to discipline basketball coach Lefty Dreisell, who was cleared of wrongdoing by the grand jury.
″I’m not interested in what he (Marshall) said,″ Dreisell said today. ″I don’t have any comment.″
Dreisell came under grand jury scrutiny after suggesting that Bias’ dormitory room be cleaned after he collapsed of cocaine intoxication on June 19.
Sources told The Sun that the murder in question was that of Carl Joyner, a Washington, D.C., resident found shot to death July 7 in a Washington schoolyard.
According to court papers filed Tuesday in the Bias investigation, authorities want to question three District of Columbia men, including former Washington police officer Adrian James.
James told police that Bias’ friend Brian Tribble was responsible for the death of a man who had stolen a safe belonging to Tribble, court papers showed Tuesday.
The papers, filed in District of Columbia Superior Court, also say Bias was in Tribble’s apartment shortly before the athlete died June 19, suggesting that police may have cleared up some of the mystery of Bias’ movements early that day.
The safe was taken in the hours after Bias’ death from the apartment of Julie Walker, a friend of Tribble, who told police it belonged to Tribble.
James led police to the safe, which was found empty.
Tribble’s lawyer, Thomas C. Morrow, called James’ allegation ridiculous and ″the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard.″
The Sun quoted law enforcement officials involved in the Bias investigation and an investigation of an unrelated crime Joyner allegedly committed as saying that James isn’t necessarily a credible witness.
James was fired from his job on the force and is now a police informant, the sources said.
The court documents, signed by Prince George’s Circuit Judge Robert J. Woods, ask District of Columbia authorities to subpoena three men to appear before the county grand jury investigating the Bias death.
The men are James, Gideon Fobbs and Mark Majors. Fobbs and Majors also were friends of Tribble, according to the court papers.
The documents cite an unidentified witness as saying that Fobbs and Majors were in Tribble’s apartment with Bias early on the morning of the University of Maryland basketball star’s death.
Tribble has been indicted on charges of possession of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, distribution of cocaine and possession of PCP in connection with Bias’ death. He is scheduled for trial Nov. 17.
James told police, according to the court papers, that Tribble ″learned the identity of two persons who took the safe and, after a blackmail attempt by one of those two persons, Mr. Tribble either himself or by an agent, had one of those two persons murdered for failing to return the contents of the safe.″
Homicide detective Clayton Bagley, who is investigating the Joyner slaying, was in a grand jury proceeding Tuesday. Outside the prosecutors’ office he declined to answer a reporter’s questions.
Joyner has a lengthy D.C. Superior Court record dating back to 1974, with convictions on seven separate charges, including assault, robbery, armed robbery and heroin possession.
His most recent arrest came in September 1984 on charges of second-degree burglary. Nine of the 28 charges lodged against Joyner were drug-related.
James was charged with several counts of selling heroin to an undercover police officer in 1982. He was later dismissed from the force, but found innocent of the charges.
Coach Dreisell, Marhsall said, had not lived up to his ″almost parental″ role model as coach, and said testimony suggested that winning and moneymaking took precedence over academics on the team.
Marshall also contended it was evident that Driesell had knowledge of one or more players with drug problems, although there did not appear to be a major drug problem on the team.
However, Marshall said more criminal indictments in addition to the three filed last month were possible when more testimony is taken when the jury investigating Bias’ death resumes its work on Sept. 10.