PICKENS — Former Clemson defensive back and Orangeburg-Wilkinson standout Jadar Johnson’s first appearance in court since his arrest March 28 was waived, according to Johnson’s attorney Bakari Sellers.
Thursday’s scheduled court date for Johnson, along with co-defendants former Tiger running back C.J. Fuller and former Duke defensive linemen Quaven Ferguson, was to assign a public defender if any of the defendants did not have counsel and to answer any questions regarding the charges or legal process.
All three men have representation, so their appearance on charges related to the armed robbery of a former Clemson teammate was not required.
"Today was a first appearance,” said Sellers of the Strom Law Firm in Columbia. “Because Jadar has an attorney, like in most circuits … when you have an attorney, your appearance is waived -- it's not canceled. You just aren't required to appear.”
Though Johnson and his co-defendants are facing charges of armed robbery and possession of a weapon during commission of a crime, Sellers said Johnson is still the person everyone knows. The attorney and former state representative said he is confident Johnson will be a better man when the trial is behind him.
"Jadar is still the kid that everyone knew him to be,” Sellers said. “We all make mistakes, but Jadar is going to be stronger when he gets out of this situation than he was when he went into it. And we just look forward to the justice system running its course. I think that the people will still be proud of Jadar at the end of this."
The three men are accused of robbing the apartment of a former teammate while he was at practice.
On the afternoon of March 28 at around 4 p.m., three men arrived at an apartment on Sloan Street in the downtown area of Clemson, according to police reports.
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They found a woman at the apartment. In the 911 call, the woman stated she was at the residence and was forced inside at gunpoint by two men.
“I think there were two that came in and one was the lookout, but it all happened so fast I couldn't tell you definitely,” the victim stated in the 911 call tape released by Clemson police. "One of them had a gun, and he like came in, and I tried to, like, push him out and stuff like that. And I knew that my boyfriend has a gun. ... I think they knew that he also had a gun and they grabbed it out of his bedside table."
According to the 911 tape, the three men were described as wearing hoods that were “pulled tight” so all that could be seen was their eyes. But during a struggle with the victim, she pulled out some of the assailant's hair, which she described as being “shorter dreadlocks.”
"They didn't say anything. They were just yelling like, 'Go, go and move, move' and stuff like that to each other. I tried to stop them, and then they threw my dog onto the wall,” the victim stated. “One of their hoods fell off and I was pulling out their hair trying to get them to get off of me, and they kind of had like shorter dreadlocks.”
Police identified three suspects from surveillance footage taken from the downtown parking garage that showed three men entering a white Mercedes-Benz.
After he got home from practice, the as-yet-unidentified player told police that the only person he knew driving that type of vehicle “would be C.J. Fuller.”
The three individuals were arrested and arraigned on March 29 at the Clemson Municipal Court. All three were released on bonds of $25,000. As a condition of their release, all three must wear GPS monitoring devices, not leave South Carolina and not have any contact with the victims.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney’s only statement regarding the former players has been, “It’s disappointing. That is really it. There is nothing else I can say.”