A former freshman basketball star at the University of Alabama was charged with conspiring to kidnap a child this week. Devonta Pollard, 18, is one of several people accused in a plot to kidnap 6-year-old Jashayla Hopson over a property dispute.
Indictment papers released this week state that Pollard’s mother, Jessie Mae Brown Pollard, took the girl from her Mississipppi and brought her to a hotel room, sending Jashayla’s mother a text saying, “Don’t call the police. I will call you later. If you call the police you won’t see her again.” Prosecutors say the basketball star’s mother concocted the scheme after a dispute over land with the child’s family, at one point demanding $50,000 in ransom, reported ABC News Thursday.
Yahoo News reported that a key to the hotel room and a receipt for the cell phone used in the kidnapping were found by authorities in Devonta Pollard’s car, connecting him to the crime. The athlete is now facing up to five years in prison and was released on a $10,000 bond. If convicted, his mother could get life in prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Dowdy told the Associated Press that Devonta Pollard tested positive for marijuana use following the investigation. Pollard’s lawyer, Lisa Ross, said the teen is looking to enroll in a community college following the charges, saying he is worried for his future. “We intended to defend him vigorously. . He’s concerned about his liberty,” said Ross.
Others charged in the plot, which ended with the child being safely returned to her mother shortly after the abduction, include East Kemper Elementary School secretaries Wanda Faye Dancy and Shamarious Ruffin, James Johnigan and Joyce Johnigan.