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Alabama Kidnapping Leads to Arrest of Basketball Star

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  • Devonta Pollard
    (Photo: Twitter)
    University of Alabama player Devonta Pollard was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping.
By Sami K. Martin, Christian Post Reporter
June 6, 2013|7:21 am

Devonta Pollard, a University of Alabama basketball player has been arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, authorities said. Pollard was one of six people arrested in connection with the abduction of 6-year-old Jashayla Hopson last month.

Pollard's mother reportedly picked Hopson up from the East Kemper Elementary school on April 30. Hopson was released the next day and found help from a nearby resident. Three people were immediately arrested: Pollard's mother, Jesse Mae, Wanda Dancy, and Shamarius Ruffin.

Investigators spoke with Jesse Mae, a teacher in the area, "regarding a dispute she had with victim's mother and about victim's disappearance," AL.com reported. The victim was able to tell officials that she had been picked up by a woman called "Jesse Mae."

Devonta Pollard was not the only one arrested on Tuesday; Joyce Johnigan and Shaquayla Johnigan were also taken into custody and charged. Police said they expect to make at least one more arrest.

Devonta's car was a key piece of evidence and led to his arrest. Officials said that several people had seen his car at the hotel where the little girl had been held overnight. When police searched the vehicle, they found a receipt and room key for the same hotel.

Devonta had a bright future ahead of him; he graduated from Kemper County High School and was deemed a national-level basketball prospect. He was also named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Mississippi and was selected for the McDonald's All-American team.

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Jesse Mae Pollard remains in federal custody. If convicted of the kidnapping, she faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $750,000 fine. Devonta Pollard and the other five suspects face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $25,000 fine. The trial for Jesse Mae begins on August 6.

Devonta's basketball coach and teammates have refused to speak to the press about his participation in the ordeal.

 

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