Former Randallstown football star and Maryland recruit Melvin Alaeze was sentenced to eight years in prison for his role in a shooting and robbery last December in Randallstown.
Alaeze, 20, received the sentence Wednesday in Baltimore County Circuit Court after entering a guilty plea to first-degree assault in May.
Under Maryland law, Alaeze must serve at least half of his sentence before he can be released.
"Melvin still had opportunities to attend college," said Alaeze's attorney, Kevin Kamenetz. "It's tough, because it's a very serious crime, but he has no prior record. The issue is: Do you take advantage of the opportunity to rehabilitate yourself with a college degree, or do you lock him up in prison for four years and when he comes out he's just another felon, with a high school diploma and no job? We were trying to strike an appropriate balance here that would still allow him to have a future."
The Sun previously reported that Alaeze was arrested Jan. 13 for the incident that occurred Dec. 24, 2006, at the Brookhaven apartment complex in Randallstown. Speaking to police four days after treatment at Northwest Hospital Center for gunshot wounds to the back of the head, back and near the left eye, a man identified Alaeze as one of his assailants, charging documents said.
Alaeze was The Sun's All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 and highly ranked on scouting Web sites such as Scout.com, Rivals.com and ESPN.com as a defensive lineman. He had a football scholarship from Maryland, but it was withdrawn "due to a violation of the terms of his financial aid agreement," according to a statement by the school. Sources familiar with the situation said marijuana-related charges and his SAT score were factors in Maryland's decision.
With the sentence, Alaeze's future after prison is in question. "I can't predict what's going to happen to him in the future, but statistically I think it's difficult for any convicted felon with a high school diploma to build a secure future," Kamenetz said.
Sun reporters contributed to this article.