“It’s a monumental tragedy. A human being has lost his life, a family has been thrown under horrible circumstances, a student has basically been lost, its a horrible tragedy.”
Former UMaine football player, 23-year-old Zedric Joseph, was arrested this week in connection with a stabbing in Florida that left one man dead and one woman wounded.
“When we found out Friday that he was being sought in this case, and from that point forward, we’ve been cooperating with law enforcement.”
Athletic Director Karlton Creech faces this situation after only a few weeks on the job.
“It’s hard to explain,” Creech says. “I don’t think we can explain this type of violence. I don’t think it’s anything we’re doing or that the university is doing.”
The University has suspended Joseph and school officials say they plan to hold him accountable for whatever connection he has in the Florida case.
“In any conduct code case, the range of sanctions is from warning to expulsion,” explains Robert Dana, UMaine’s Vice President of student affairs. The circumstance here, with the facts as we expect them to be laid out, dismissal from the university would not be an unlikely outcome.”
The investigation dug up some of Joseph’s past. He was charged in a 2012 domestic violence case in Orono involving the same woman who was injured in Florida. He was also interviewed several times by campus police for arguments and fights.
University officials say he was never given any special treatment.
“We’d never treat a student athlete any differently than any student,” Dana continues. We have here a criminal justice system, on this case we have an athletic code of conduct, and we have the university code of conduct, so a student athlete would actually get exposed to all three of those.”
Joseph is the second former UMaine football palyer in just over a year to be linked to a murder. Jovan Belcher, who played in the NFL, killed his girlfriend before taking his own life in 2012.
“Students are not subjected to this sort of harsh reality very often, so we’ll be providing support networks for students. Some students will have known this person and they’ll be upset. It’ll be unsettling.”
Joseph is still in jail in Georgia, where he was arrested. He will make his first court appearance Monday for an extradition hearing to see if he will be returned to Florida and formally charged.