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Two sheriff's deputies, who had guarded Fuller's home, get fired

By Wire services
Published May 13, 2004

TALLAHASSEE - Two veteran sheriff's deputies who were guarding the home of Ravens defensive back Corey Fuller while a high-stakes gambling operation was taking place have been fired.

Although the deputies had permission to do the job, John Johnson and Derrick Conyers were fired after an internal investigation concluded they had ignored their own suspicions about what was happening inside the house.

Johnson had been with the department for 10 years and Conyers for 17.

Fuller, a former Florida State star, was charged last month with hosting high-stakes card games at his house, the site of a shootout three months ago.

He was released on $5,000 bail after a search warrant was served at the house. The felony charge carries a possible five-year state prison sentence and $5,000 fine.

State law allows card players to gamble up to $10 a hand, but the sheriff's office said some pots were worth thousands of dollars, and games were held several times a week. When some 20 law enforcement officers broke up the game, called "Georgia skins," they seized "thousands of dollars."

Sheriff Larry Campbell said it was unacceptable his deputies, especially veteran ones, would not take action when they suspect criminal activity. The two deputies were paid more than $5,000 between them from the player between January and April.

Fuller reportedly exchanged gunfire with an intruder outside his home in January. No one was injured and about 20 shots were fired. The player offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

GIANTS: Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil endorses Kurt Warner, his former quarterback with the Rams, as the right fit for New York as it makes the transition to the Eli Manning era. "Kurt would be the best thing to ever happen to Eli," Vermeil told the New York Daily News. "Evaluate how he handled the situation in St. Louis this year with a young quarterback (Marc Bulger). No one could handle it with any more class, and not many would or could. Put him in an environment to help the No. 1 pick become a player and he would be great. I personally believe he would be the starter. He's got some rare, rare skills."

JETS: Running back LaMont Jordan, who has been seeking a new team or a new contract, will have to settle for for playing time. Coach Herm Edwards hopes to appease Jordan by working him on the field a little more as a substitute for starter Curtis Martin, the Sporting News reported.

RAIDERS: Even with the drafting of Robert Gallery, a player the team hopes lines up at left tackle for the next dozen years, that doesn't mean the incumbent, Barry Sims, is on the way out. If Gallery can handle the job, as expected, Sims could move to guard. He has played both guard spots in the past.

REDSKINS: Safety Ifeanyi Ohalete re-signed. Ohalete started 15 games at strong safety last season and made a career-high 105 tackles, but he probably lost his starting job when the Redskins drafted Sean Taylor with the No. 5 overall pick last month. Taylor is expected to start at free safety, moving Matt Bowen to strong safety.

TEXANS: With the drafting of cornerback Dunta Robinson in the first round, Marcus Coleman will move to free safety from cornerback.

ARENA LEAGUE: While the Storm has a bye week, coach Tim Marcum will join AFL on NBC studio host Al Trautwig and analyst Glenn Parker to provide halftime commentary and postgame wrapup interviews Sunday. Los Angeles (7-6) plays New York (8-5) in the lead game at 3 p.m.

- Times staff writer Frank Pastor contributed to this report.

[Last modified May 13, 2004, 02:20:18]


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