A University of Maine student is being held on a murder charge in connection with a double stabbing in Florida that resulted in the death of a 23-year-old man.
Zedric Joseph, 23, of West Palm Beach was being held at the Richmond County Jail in Augusta, Ga., according to a jail official. Joseph, who played football for the University of Maine, was brought to the jail shortly before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday on warrants out of West Palm Beach for one count of murder and two counts of aggravated assault, the jail officer said.
The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office confirmed Wednesday afternoon that they had issued the warrant for Joseph. The Richmond County Jail officer said that Joseph was being held until West Palm Beach police arrive to pick him up and return him to Florida.
The Florida sheriff’s office confirmed that deputies received a report of a stabbing Friday in the 1600 block of Quail Lake Drive in West Palm Beach. When deputies arrived, they found two victims. A woman had been stabbed in the hand and a man had suffered multiple stab wounds.
Both were taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach.
The man, Ricardy Chery, 23, died from his injuries. The woman, Vashti Laurore, 23, was treated for her injuries and then released from the hospital.
West Palm Beach police are not releasing additional information.
Joseph had been charged 15 months ago with domestic violence assault and threatening on the Orono campus, according to a University of Maine spokeswoman.
Joseph is a senior majoring in child development and family relations at the UMaine. He enrolled at UMaine in 2011 and was a member of the football team, but does not have any remaining NCAA eligibility. He was listed as a running back.
Last week and this week are spring break for the university. Classes resume Monday.
Joseph was interimly suspended from the University of Maine on March 8, the day after the alleged stabbing occurred when the university was informed of the stabbing in Florida.
“We were very saddened to learn that a University of Maine student has been arrested in connection with the death of one person and the injury of another in Florida,” said Kenda Scheele, UMaine assistant vice president and senior associate dean for students. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those whose lives have been forever changed by this horrific incident.”
“This is very hard to comprehend,” said UMaine football coach Jack Cosgrove. “We extend our deepest sympathies to the victims and their families and friends connected to this tragedy.”
Margaret Nagle, senior director of public relations and operations for the university, said that university police arrested Joseph on Dec. 17, 2012, and charged him with domestic violence assault and domestic violence criminal threatening. A telephone message was left late Wednesday with the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office to find out the outcome of the case. The call was not immediately returned.
Nagle said the university police also said that they had talked with Joseph on five other occasions. The first was in connection to a broken window at Hancock Hall in October 2011. In April 2012 he was questioned about a man being punched outside the Memorial Gym. In September 2012, he was questioned following a verbal argument in the Memorial Gym parking lot. Then on the evening of Nov. 11, 2012, and the following morning, police questioned him following reports of verbal arguments at University Park. No charges against Joseph resulted from those instances.
Joseph was interimly suspended following the domestic assault arrest but the outcome of the disciplinary hearing cannot be released because of federal privacy laws, Nagle said.
The 5-foot-9, 195-pound Joseph transferred to UMaine in 2011 after two years at Erie Community College in Orchard Park, N.Y.
The running back/wide receiver appeared in a total of five games for the UM football team during the 2012 and 2013 seasons, rushing for 143 yards and one touchdown on 35 carries. Last season, he also made seven pass receptions for 148 yards and a TD and had two tackles as a member of UMaine’s special teams.
Joseph suffered a broken leg in the Black Bears’ Sept. 14 game against Bryant, during which he made his first UMaine start. He missed the remainder of the season.
“I feel uncomfortable talking about the Zedric situation,” former UMaine teammate Jamal Clay said via Twitter Wednesday, “but he’s a Black Bear brother and I’m going to keep him in my prayers.”
Joseph was an All-Northeast Football Conference first-team tailback in 2010 after rushing for 497 yards and three touchdowns. Previously, he played at Palm Beach Central High School, where he set school records for single-game receiving yards and kick returns for touchdowns.
If convicted, Joseph would be the second former UMaine football player in 15 months to have killed a person. Former UMaine player Jovan Belcher, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, shot and killed his girlfriend and then took his own life in December 2012.
Counseling and support services are being made available on the UM campus to students and staff affected by these events.
BDN Assistant Sports Editor Pete Warner contributed to this report.