Man charged in murder of former Villanova star Porter

Updated: September 6, 2007, 9:49 AM ET
Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Former Villanova star and Ramsey County probation officer Howard Porter was trying to trade money and crack cocaine for sex with a prostitute when he was beaten to death, according to murder charges filed Tuesday against a St. Paul man.

Porter, 58, died May 26, a week after he was found unconscious in a Minneapolis alley.

More Porter details
The criminal complaint against the alleged murderer of former Villanova basketball star Howard Porter has some revealing information. Report (PDF)

Rashad Arthur Raleigh, 29, was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder. Raleigh was originally arrested in early June, but was released without being charged. He had been in custody on an unrelated charge of fleeing police since Aug. 16 before he was charged in Porter's death Tuesday.

According to the criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court, Porter accompanied a prostitute he had picked up on the street to her apartment for a "date." The woman, Tonya Evette Johnson, told police four masked men rushed in to her apartment, threw her to the floor and demanded drugs and money.

Johnson told police the four men beat Porter "real bad, God real bad" and that "there was blood everywhere," the complaint quoted her as saying. Police said they found blood spattered throughout the house.

The woman told police Raleigh and another man she knew as "Snake Eyes" had been at her apartment earlier that evening. Raleigh admitted to police he had been there with "Snake Eyes," but denied that Porter had been there when he was.

Porter disappeared the night of May 18 after leaving his St. Paul home. He was found in Minneapolis the next morning, without identification and badly injured. Authorities didn't know at the time that the assault victim brought to the hospital was Porter, and he remained hospitalized until he died. His car was found in St. Paul.

According to the complaint, Raleigh told someone who had made a series of calls from the Ramsey County Workhouse to Johnson's address in late May that Porter had "rushed" him and "didn't go along with the program." Raleigh allegedly said in those calls that he robbed Porter because he needed money, but that Johnson had come up with the idea. Calls by workhouse inmates are routinely recorded.

Porter was a standout at Villanova, leading the Wildcats to the 1971 NCAA championship game and was selected outstanding player of the tournament despite the Wildcats' loss to UCLA in the final. But he was stripped of his award and the team's accomplishments were wiped from the record books after it was learned he had begun dealing with an agent before the season ended.

Porter was drafted 32nd overall by the Chicago Bulls in 1971 and played seven professional seasons including stints with Detroit and New York but never achieved the success he had in college.

He became addicted to drugs and estranged himself from his school and former teammates, but turned his life around. He came to Minnesota for drug treatment, decided to stay and became a probation officer for Ramsey County in 1995. He returned to Villanova when the school retired his No. 54 jersey in 1997, and his funeral was held in a small gothic church on the school's expansive campus.

Police said Tuesday that the murder investigation was still open and detectives were continuing to follow leads.

At the office where Porter worked, his co-workers were grateful for the arrest, said Chris Crutchfield, deputy director of community relations and external affairs for Ramsey County Community Corrections.

Crutchfield said because of the ongoing investigation, his office would not comment on the possibility that Porter had relapsed before he was slain. He said Raleigh was not one of Porter's probation clients, nor was Johnson.

"Howard was not on duty when this happened, and it doesn't appear to have anything to do with his job," Crutchfield said. "This was a heinous, heinous crime, and we are all focused on bringing those people to justice for their vicious acts."


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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