<
>

Carson pleads guilty, will serve 30 days

MOBILE, Ala. -- Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Leonardo Carson, who had faced charges of kidnapping and burglary involving a break-in at the home of his
ex-girlfriend's sister, pleaded guilty to lesser charges and began
serving a 30-day jail sentence.

Carson, a former Auburn star defensive lineman who
signed with the Cowboys last year, was taken to the Mobile
County Metro Jail on Monday after pleading guilty to trespassing
and unlawful imprisonment.

Carson, 27, entered the plea under an agreement with Baldwin
County District Attorney David Whetstone.

Circuit Judge Joseph Johnston sentenced Carson to a year each
for the misdemeanor offenses, to be served consecutively, but
suspended the sentences and ordered him to serve 30 days. Carson
also was sentenced to two years of probation.

Carson also has played for the San Diego Charges, who made him a
fourth-round draft pick out of Auburn in 2000. He was cut by the
Charges last year before being picked up by Dallas.

According to court records, Carson broke into the home of Tasha
Locke, apparently looking for his 8-year-old daughter.

Locke is the sister of Carson's ex-girlfriend, Lashea Locke, the
mother of his daughter.

Carson broke a window to get in Tasha Locke's apartment and
forced her to leave with him, according to police reports.

She escaped when his car broke down a short distance away,
records show.

Carson's arrest record
includes menacing, harassing, assault and criminal mischief.

Defense attorney Johnny Brutkiewicz said his client's admission
of guilt to the two misdemeanors was the right thing and would in
turn allow him to continue to financially provide for his daughter
and family.

Whetstone told Johnston he didn't want the case to end Carson's
football career. But the DA told the court the suspended sentence
will be held over the athlete's head as an incentive for him to
avoid trouble.

Carson will "serve a lengthy incarceration if he fouls up. I
told him I had the hammer and I will use it. I think he understood
that," Whetstone said later.

Whetstone said he insisted Carson do jail time. "He gets angry
and then becomes a bully. He has a problem with (anger)
management," Whetstone said.

"Carson needed time to reflect'' on his actions and do so in
"an incarcerated environment where he is not a star (but) is an
inmate," the DA added.