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Ex-GU player Skinner jailed after dorm assault

Fri., May 21, 2004

A former Gonzaga University basketball player is being held on $30,000 bond and faces charges of burglary and assault in connection with an April 23 incident in a GU dorm room.

Prosecutors have charged Tony L. Skinner, 22, with one count of first-degree burglary and a count each of second-degree assault and fourth-degree assault. Skinner’s co-defendant, DeJuan Ashley, 21, faces the same charges as Skinner and is being held on $25,000 bond.

Ashley played basketball for the Community Colleges of Spokane. He told Superior Court Judge Greg Sypolt at his first appearance Thursday that he needed to be out of jail because he is one quarter away from graduating and plans to continue his college basketball career this winter.

Skinner told the judge he is a fifth-year senior who is working toward his degree. His basketball eligibility concluded in March.

Both men are scheduled to be arraigned May 27.

Prosecutors say the two men participated in a planned and “very brutal attack.” Ashley is accused of confronting a man and two women while trying to locate his ex-girlfriend with help from Skinner, according to records.

The two men obtained keys to a dorm room from a woman named Stacey Sarro, who lived on occasion in the dorm room, according to records. Sarro also transported Ashley and Skinner from the scene knowing an assault had occurred, records say. She has been charged with first-degree rendering criminal assistance.

Superior Court records say Ashley was banned from Gonzaga’s campus in May 2003 after reportedly being involved in another assault in which Skinner was present. Though records don’t describe last year’s assault, they say Skinner told Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth that he knew Ashley was banned from campus, records say.

Nevertheless, court documents say that early on the morning of April 23, Ashley and Skinner forced their way into the dorm room, trying to find Ashley’s ex-girlfriend.

Skinner cornered a man and asked him his name, court records state. When the victim responded, Ashley allegedly punched him twice in the face.

“At no time during this incident did the victim strike or attempt to fight back,” court records say. The victim thought the 6-foot-5 inch, 200-pound Skinner would retaliate if he tried to fight Ashley, records say.

One woman tried to break up the one-sided fight, but Skinner prevented her from doing so, say court records. A second woman nearby also attempted to intervene but was thwarted by Skinner.

“Eventually defendant Ashley turned his attention to the first woman and forced her into a bedroom area,” records say. “He threw her on the bed and yelled at her.” Meanwhile, Skinner stayed in the bathroom with the male victim, records say.

The male victim asked Skinner why he was participating in the attack. Skinner told the man that he needed to “support Ashley” because he was a friend, documents say.

“Defendant Skinner eventually convinced Ashley to leave,” documents say.

Deputy prosecutor Rachel Sterett told Sypolt that authorities believe the men are a flight risk because neither is a full-time resident of Spokane.

Ashley told Sypolt: “I have a lot going for me.”

Skinner told the judge: “I’ve never got in trouble before.”


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