Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Budd on arrest: ‘This is not me’

Former Sherwood star has preliminary hearing scheduled for Friday

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Dominique Budd faces a preliminary hearing on assault and robbery charges Friday.
A month after his arrest in Ocean City, former Sherwood two-sport star Dominique Budd, 18, admitted to involvement in an incident that was ‘‘out of character,” but denied he robbed anyone.

The Montgomery Sentinel first reported on June 30 that Ocean City police had arrested Budd and Brandon Fairchild, who went to Walkersville High in Frederick County. The pair was charged June 11 with robbery, second-degree assault and theft of less than $100, after reportedly stealing a hat and $14 in cash. The police report was not made available to The Gazette by press time.

‘‘Me and my cousin [Fairchild] got into an argument with the guy,” Budd said. ‘‘I was just out of control. I kind of pushed him in the head and he fell. I took the hat off and walked away. I don’t know where they got armed robbery and all that.”

Budd said he had been in fights before, but ‘‘nothing of this sort.”

He spent two nights in an Ocean City jail — ‘‘just a lesson I learned; I don’t want to go back” — before being bailed out. The family has retained an attorney, Andrew Whitehead, and Budd faces a preliminary hearing at 9 a.m. Friday in Ocean City.

At Sherwood, Budd was part of the 2006-07 state championship basketball team as a junior, and reached the state finals in football in 2005 and ’06. He was named to the All-Gazette football first team as a junior in 2006 and as a senior in ’07.

Budd graduated in June and has accepted a scholarship offer to play football at Division II Bowie State University, where he said coaches told him he was at the top of the depth chart as a kick and punt returner.

‘‘Everything’s cool” at Bowie, Budd said. ‘‘They’re just saying this is a strike under my belt, and I can’t get in any more trouble.”

Attempts to obtain a comment from Bowie State were unsuccessful.

Sherwood football coach Al Thomas and basketball coach Dondrell Whitmore both expressed surprise at Budd’s arrest.

‘‘I can tell you right now, he’s no criminal,” Thomas said. ‘‘He is a good kid who screwed up. ... This was just some stupid thing. Just a typical shore thing.”

‘‘I was just shocked — really, I thought the whole time people were playing,” Whitmore said. ‘‘I haven’t wanted to bother him. He doesn’t need me telling him he’s stupid, I’m pretty sure everybody else is telling him that.”

Budd said he is currently working two jobs and preparing for college next month. After seeing his case discussed on the Internet chat board, he posted under the heading ‘‘this is dominique budd,” but said he has otherwise kept a low profile.

‘‘I gave people a reason to talk about something, so I guess they’re going to talk about it,” Budd said. ‘‘Hopefully, everyone sees this is not me. This is out of my character, and you won’t have to hear anything like this about me again ...

I’m just trying to stay close to my family, not go out. I’m working, sitting at home, and keeping my nose clean.”