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Former Duquesne student gets two years probation after guilty plea

10/30/2007 - Duquesne Dukes

PITTSBURGH -- A former Duquesne student pleaded guilty
Tuesday to helping two friends armed with guns get into a school
dance the night five basketball players were shot and wounded.

Brittany Jones, 20, was sentenced Tuesday to two years of
probation. A judge also ordered Jones to stay off the university's
campus and away from anyone with a gun.

Jones' attorney, James Ecker, said his client could have been
sentenced to years in prison if she had not reached a plea
agreement.

"She's very happy, she's continuing going to church and she has
a job," Ecker told The Associated Press. "She's very happy and
her family's very happy."

Jones was the last of four defendants to plead guilty in the
September 2006 shooting in which basketball players Sam Ashaolu,
Shawn James, Kojo Mensah, Aaron Jackson and Stuard Baldonado were
injured.

The gunman, William B. Holmes III, 19, was sentenced Friday to
up to 40 years in prison. Another shooter, Derek Lee, 19, was
sentenced Oct. 23 to up to 14 years in prison. The two shots fired
by Lee did not hit anyone, authorities said.

Jones was a member of the group that sponsored the dance, and
invited a group of friends, among them Holmes and Lee, to the
on-campus party. She knew some of the men were armed and asked a
doorman if people attending the dance were being frisked, which
they were not, authorities said.

Another girl, Erica Sager, 19, who knew the two gunmen, flirted
with the basketball players, sparking the fight between the two
groups. Sager had pleaded no contest to a riot charge and was
sentenced to probation.

Judge Lawrence O'Toole on Tuesday harshly criticized Jones for
inviting the gunmen to the party. Jones burst into tears and
apologized after O'Toole sarcastically told her she could have also
chosen to hang out with gangsters Bonnie and Clyde if they were
available.

Three of the players who were shot -- James, Mensah and Jackson --
have recovered and are expected to start this season. Ashaolu, who
still has shrapnel lodged in his head, is back in school, but does
not expect to return to the team until next season.

Baldonado has been suspended because of several arrests this
year. It is unlikely he will to return to the university. In April,
he sued the university, contending it failed to provide adequate
security at the dance.