The Gainesville Sun has some relatively good news today: the felony charges against Florida basketball players Erik Murphy and Cody Larson stemming from an April incident in St. Augustine have been reduced to misdemeanors.
"They have paid restitution to the victims to get a headlight fixed," said State Attorney spokesperson Shannon Peters. "The charges reflect that they tried to go into another person's car without permission."
A court date has yet to be set for Murphy and Larson to enter the plea. Sentences for a second-degree misdemeanor can range from a maximum of six months in jail to fines and probation.
That's likely very good news for both young men's futures, especially Murphy's. Though there's still some expense and punishment involved in dealing with misdemeanor charges — and, though this isn't a court of law, I think most of us suspect there is a good chance Murphy and Larson are guilty — it is a far better scenario than a felony charge.
With this news, regardless of verdict, I expect Murphy to be a member of the Florida basketball team this fall, possibly with a suspension at the season's outset. It's less clear with Larson, whose misdemeanor charge likely still violates the terms of his probation, but his chances of remaining a Gator likely went from none to slim.
In the day's unequivocal best news, Joshua Adel, the team manager who can be heard on the released audio tapes, discouraging Murphy and Larson from further stupidity, has had his charge dropped.
"He was charged as being the lookout when the evidence showed that wasn't the case," Peters said. "He was, in fact, discouraging them."
If you've listened to the tapes, Adel sounded like the only person who had his head screwed on right that night. So I'm glad his common sense and (relative) cool under fire helped exonerate him.
Do you think Murphy and Larson will still be Gators come fall? Are you fine with their charges being reduced, or do you suspect shady lawyering? Are you still sort of struck by how stupid this all is? We have a comments section for a reason.