Former ODU Football Players Trial Delayed Again

By: Matt O’Brien and Steven Jackson

Rape victims are often victimized again by a criminal justice system that allows repeated trial delays by defendants. In a recent case involving two football players from Old Dominion University, the defense has repeatedly asked for delays that have extended the trial by 15 months. Every delay, according to court experts, undermines a rape victim’s determination to testify against her alleged attackers.

“When cases get postponed, witnesses and victims can lose hope,” said Shenace Hicks, a victim witness advocate for the Norfolk Circuit Court.

Former ODU football players Reid Evans Jr. (left) and Markell Wilkins (right).

Former ODU football players Reid Evans Jr. (left) and Markell Wilkins (right). Photo courtesy of the Virginia Pilot Online

Two former Old Dominion University football players, Reid Evans Jr. and Markell Wilkins, accused of sexual assault will not go to trial until more than two years after the alleged rape.

Wide receiver Evans was charged with forcible sodomy, conspiracy, and raping two non-ODU student women in a campus dorm room on June 17, 2012.  Evans compiled 152 receptions and 1,811 receiving yards in his career at ODU.

A few weeks after Evans was charged, his teammate, Wilkins was also charged with two counts of conspiracy and forcible sodomy. Wilkins was a starter on ODU’s defense and tallied 41 tackles throughout the course of the 2012 season while starting 13 games. Wilkins was also expelled from the university.

The case has been delayed three times. Each time the delay was requested by defense attorneys, court clerks said. The case was originally scheduled for trial on May 7, 2013, delayed until Dec. 18, 2013, delayed until April 15 2014, and again until Aug. 25, 2014.

“Usually prolonging the case by the defendant is so they can come up with some sort of alibi or make sure everything is in order before they go to jail,” Hicks said.

Evan’s attorney said his client was looking forward to going to trial on April 16, but then requested another delay until Aug. 24.

“It has been a very controversial, and stressful situation. We are looking forward to clearing this all up in April,” Hooker said in a phone interviews April 6.

Before being suspended from the football team and expelled from the university, Evans was a star player in ODU’s program.