University President releases statement on Faulkner athletes' mu - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

University President releases statement on Faulkner athletes' murder case

Ryan Brooks (Source: Faulkner University) Ryan Brooks (Source: Faulkner University)
Marshall Wall (Source: Montgomery County Jail) Marshall Wall (Source: Montgomery County Jail)
Ronnie Williams (Source: Montgomery County Jail) Ronnie Williams (Source: Montgomery County Jail)
Tabias Russell (Source: Montgomery County Jail) Tabias Russell (Source: Montgomery County Jail)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Faulkner University President Billy Hilyer released a statement on Friday that revealed more on the situation that led to three Faulkner University student-athletes being charged with murder in the death of a fourth student-athlete while all were allegedly attempting to steal illegal drugs.

"Needless to say, I am very shocked and disappointed to discover the involvement of drugs in this already tragic event," Hilyer said in a statement. "Faulkner has always sought to maintain a safe, Christian environment for all of our students, faculty and staff. In our 72 year history, Faulkner University has never experienced an incident like this. We have and will continue to enforce a comprehensive disciplinary policy for any violations involving illegal drugs. Through the recent transition from a security department to a certified Police Department, the hiring of additional police officers and an increase in training, resources and response capabilities, Faulkner has continued to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff."

The Montgomery County District Court affidavits indicate Ryan Brooks, of Chelsea, and other Faulkner athletes including Marshall Wall III and Ronnie Williams, both of Loxley, and Tabias Russell, of Alexander City, all 19, committed second degree robbery at the residence of Franklin Williams.

Franklin Williams, a Faulkner University student and former athlete, fired a shot in self-defense, according to the documents, injuring Brooks. Police and medics responded to the home in the 5900 block of Woodmere Boulevard around 7:35 p.m. Wednesday and pronounced Brooks dead on the scene.

A space on the affidavits for 'damage done or property attacked' is filled out with the listing "narcotics".

In his statement, Hilyer went on to say that, "Faulkner University will take decisive action to assess the scope of any drug related issues on our campus and implement additional measures to prevent this unacceptable behavior."

Hilyer said that the university will plan to:

-Pursue a change in the athletic policy from random drug testing to a more rigorous policy.

-Review the process of vetting prospective students.

-Provide a more thorough educational awareness process regarding illegal drugs to the campus community.

-Implement a confidential process to allow any member of the faculty, staff or student body to report any suspicious activity, including activities involving illegal drugs.  

Wall, Williams and Russell face the murder charge, despite not being the ones who pulled the trigger, because Brooks was killed during the commission of a robbery attempt in which they are suspects. [Read State Statute Section 13A-6-2] They were arrested Thursday and transported to the Montgomery County Detention Facility where they are being held on bonds of $75,000 each.

According to the Faulkner University athletics website, Wall is on the Eagles' soccer team, and Williams and Russell are on the Eagles' junior varsity football team roster, as was Brooks

Brooks was a freshman who recently graduated from Coosa Valley Academy. He was a player on the Faulkner Eagle junior varsity football team. Those who knew him described "a school leader whom everyone knew, loved and admired,” according to Fox 6 in Birmingham.

Ryan Brooks' mother, Misty Brooks, said Thursday her son was not the person who would commit a crime. "This is not my son's character. I don't know how he got mixed up in this," the visibly upset mother explained.

Brooks decided not to speak on camera, but allowed her younger son, Jacob, to do so. He remembered a big brother who was a kind football player. "He was the type who helped an opponent to his feet after a tackle," 13-year-old Jacob said.

Faulkner University, a private Christian university in Montgomery, has a student population of around 2,400.

"Our records show there have been no real issues with the students in question," said Dr. Jean-Noel Thompson, Vice President of Student Services.

One rumor that Faulkner officials were adamant in denying Thursday morning involves possible hazing.  University spokesman Christopher Kratzer said it was "100% NOT a hazing situation." 

The university says it continues to cooperate fully with MPD as the investigation continues.

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