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Man in Heisman Winner Murder Guilty

June 22, 2000

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) _ A Camden man has been convicted of attempted murder in connection with the shooting of 1983 Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier and a friend.

Louis Pierce, 39, also was convicted Tuesday on gun charges in state Superior Court in Camden County. Assistant Camden County Prosecutor Victoria Pinette said she would seek life in prison for Pierce when he is sentenced July 7.

Rozier, 36, of Camden, was shot twice in the stomach and once in the hand while drinking in a Camden neighborhood on Nov. 7, 1996, police said. His friend, Bart Merrill, 37, of Camden, also was shot.

Police have said Merrill and Pierce had argued previously, and on the night of the shooting Pierce pulled out a handgun. Rozier intervened, trying either to take the gun away or talk Pierce into putting it away.

Pierce fled to Maryland and was arrested a year later.

Merrill was shot to death in December 1998 in Camden.

As a 5-foot-10, 198-pound senior Rozier ran for 2,148 yards and scored 29 touchdowns to become Nebraska’s second Heisman Trophy winner. Johnny Rodgers won it in 1972.

Rozier was a first-round draft pick by the Houston Oilers in 1984, but played in the USFL instead with the Pittsburgh Maulers. He joined the Oilers in 1985.

Rozier retired after he was waived by the Atlanta Falcons in 1992. In seven NFL seasons, he had 4,462 yards on 1,159 carries and 30 touchdowns.

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