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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
After two arrests, the ex-Jefferson and current South Carolina QB tries to avoid prosecution.
By JOEY KNIGHT
Published March 15, 2007
TAMPA - In an agreement with Columbia authorities, former Jefferson High and current South Carolina freshman quarterback Stephen Garcia has applied for counseling and community service to avoid prosecution on a pair of misdemeanor charges.
Garcia appeared Wednesday in Columbia Municipal Courthouse to answer to charges of malicious injury to public property and public drunkenness that stemmed from separate incidents in February.
He applied for pre-trial intervention, a diversion program for first-time nonviolent offenders, and will have the charges dropped upon completion of the program, which includes counseling and service. The prosecutor's office is expected to accept Garcia into the program.
"Everything went as well as could be expected," said Garcia's dad, Gary, who was in court with his son. "And as much as we can under the circumstances, I think we all feel better."
As part of the deal, police agreed to drop a third charge of failure to stop on police command.
Garcia, who has been suspended from all Gamecocks spring practices by coach Steve Spurrier, was arrested twice in a two-week span - once following an altercation outside a Columbia nightclub, and another for keying a visiting professor's car over a parking dispute.
According to the Associated Press, the player met with the professor outside the courthouse before the court appearance and admitted to keying his car, then publicly apologized to him in court.
"Stephen still has a lot of things he has to do to get back in good graces and hopefully he will do that," Gary Garcia said. "Whatever happens, I'll be there for him."
Times staff writer Scott Purks contributed to this report.