Carson pleads guilty, will serve 30 days

Updated: June 15, 2004, 5:46 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press