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FSU’s Winston cited for shoplifting, suspended from baseball


Published:   |   Updated: April 30, 2014 at 04:45 PM

TALLAHASSEE - Florida State’s Heisman Trophy quarterback Jameis Winston was issued a civil citation after sheriff’s deputies said he walked out of a supermarket without paying for $32 worth of crab legs and crawfish.

The 20-year-old Winston ordered the food at the deli in a Tallahassee-area Publix on Tuesday night, Leon County Sheriff’s Maj. Michael Wood said today. After receiving the order, he left the store without paying.

Wood said Publix employees called deputies, who went to Winston’s apartment. Wood said Winston acknowledged not paying for the food, saying he forgot.

After consulting with Publix managers, deputies issued Winston a civil citation that will require him to complete at least 20 hours of community service. If he does that, no criminal charges will be filed. He will also likely have to pay restitution.

“The facts are not in dispute,” Wood said. “He left without paying.”

Wood said Winston was co operative.

“He indicated to the deputies he had forgotten and when he got home he realized that he had not paid, but in fact he had made no effort to contact Publix or return to pay prior to the deputies’ arrival” three hours after Winston left the store, Wood said.

Winston issued a statement through his lawyer saying he had intended to pay, “but made a terrible mistake for which I’m taking full responsibility. In a moment of youthful ignorance, I walked out of the store without paying for one of my items.

“I realize that I am in the public spotlight and my conduct needs to be above reproach.”

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Winston led Florida State to an undefeated season and national football championship. For the season, he passed for more than 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns, completing nearly 67 percent of his throws.

Florida State baseball coach Mike Martin suspended Winston indefinitely until he completes the program. Winston is a relief pitcher for the Seminoles. Football coach Jimbo Fisher said in a statement that he supports Martin’s decision.

Winston was cleared in December of potential sexual assault charges by State Attorney Willie Meggs, who concluded there were too many gaps in the accuser’s story. Meggs said that the woman’s memory was faulty and that there was not enough evidence of a crime to win a conviction.

The woman claimed she was assaulted before Winston became a star. The investigation lagged for months after Tallahassee Police Department officials said they were told the accuser wanted to drop the case, but the woman’s lawyer denied that. The accuser’s lawyers have said the police department botched the investigation because detectives didn’t quickly identify possible witnesses or obtain surveillance tape from the bar where the victim says she was first approached by Florida State football players.

The university is also facing a federal investigation into how it handled the rape accusation.

Although it was the most serious accusation, the sexual assault case was not Winston’s only brush with the law in Tallahassee.

In November 2012, police were called to an apartment complex in which 13 windows had been damaged by BB guns. Winston and his roommate at the time said Florida State players were engaged in a series of “battles” with each other, although they denied shooting BB guns themselves. Winston was not charged with any crime.

In another incident, police records show Winston came into a Burger King with three men but did not order food, instead asking for a water cup he repeatedly filled with soda over an employee’s objections. The report says Winston was never interviewed about the incident because the restaurant declined to prosecute.

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