Three former Rutgers football players are entering a plea deal to avoid jail time, while one will be sentenced in June for actions that occurred in April and May of 2015.
Delon Stephenson, 23, will be sentenced next month after pleading guilty to 3rd degree aggravated assault, while his brother Daryl Stephenson, along with Razhonn Gross and Nadir Barnwell have been given the OK to enter a pre-trial intervention (PTI) program. The three were charged with rioting and conspiracy to commit riot. As first-time offenders, successful completion of the PTI program without further arrests will result in this arrest being stricken from their criminal records. The information has been reported by both NJ.com as well as APP.com.
While all four men were formerly members of the Rutgers football team, Daryl Stephenson had left the team prior to the incident on Delafield Avenue in New Brunswick in April 2015.
Delon Stephenson is expected to ask for probation in the incident, which left a student with a broken jaw. The agreement to plead guilty ensures that Stephenson’s maximum sentence will be less than one full year total incarceration. A sentence of one year or more requires the sentence to be completed in a state prison, rather than the Middlesex County jail.
Two additional former players, Tejay Johnson and Ruhann Peele, are not part of this resolution, as they still face other unrelated charges. In October 2015 Peele was arrested for assault, while Johnson, former Rutgers player Andre Boggs, and three other former RU students were arrested in a series of robberies and attacks on students in apartments and dorms last year at this time.
These arrests last fall just two days prior to the first game of the season decimated an already struggling defensive unit. The arrests were followed by dismissals from the program. While Gross played fullback, Delon Stephenson played safety, and Barnwell and Boggs both were expected to start with Peele contributing at cornerback. Their absence on the team was a major factor in the difficulties the Scarlet Knights defense faced particularly in that position last season.
Last year was a tumultuous season. In addition to the arrests, former Head Coach Kyle Flood was suspended three games for breaking university rules in order to assist Barnwell regarding his grades. The day after a heartbreaking loss at home to Maryland to conclude the season, both Flood and Athletic Director Julie Hermann were fired by University President Barchi.