Sometimes, as is the case with West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood, it’s far more prudent to allow the justice system to play itself out before a student-athlete’s future is determined.
Smallwood was arrested July 14 on charges of intimidating a witness involved in a murder case.
Wilmington (Delaware) police claimed at the time that Smallwood “tried to get a witness to recant statements implicating a friend (Zakee Lloyd) of his charged with first-degree murder.”
Lloyd, however, admitted to the crime, while Smallwood was a vital part of the investigation. The Wilmington Police Department issued a statement regarding Smallwood’s role in the matter:
Since his arrest, Wendell Smallwood has been fully cooperative with the Department of Justice and Wilmington Police Department including giving a full statement regarding his involvement in witness intimidation. He was fully prepared to testify truthfully in the upcoming trial, and his cooperation was instrumental to the State in securing today’s conviction of Zakee Lloyd.
There is no evidence of Smallwood’s involvement in the murder of Manuel Oliveras. Moreover, despite the recorded phone call between Smallwood and Lloyd, there is no evidence that it resulted in a threat being conveyed to that witness. In consideration of all of the facts and circumstances, including Smallwood’s full cooperation with authorities and the conviction of Zakee Lloyd, the State today entered a nolle prosequi on the witness intimidation charge against Wendell Smallwood.
Upon news of Smallwood’s involvement in the case, West Virginia University didn’t comment on the situation, and Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen wouldn’t discuss it during Big 12 media days. Instead, Smallwood remained on the roster, and he’ll now be able to return to the team without fear of suspension or dismissal.
Smallwood finished third on the team with 221 rushing yards in 2013, and he was second with 894 all-purpose yards.