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Former Martinsburg football star rejects plea bargan

January 07, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Former Martinsburg High School football standout Brandon Barrett rejected a plea bargain Thursday and asked instead that a jury trial be held for charges he faces of first-offense driving under the influence and simple possession of marijuana.

"At this time the parties have been unable to come to any meeting of the minds," Barrett's attorney, Harley O. Wagner, said after the hearing. "As such, Mr. Barrett stands on his pleas of not guilty and will be challenging the evidence before the court and, if need be, a jury of his peers."

Barrett, 19, of 111 Centre St., Martinsburg, was charged on Oct. 16, 2004, with two misdemeanors after he was pulled over for driving erratically, police said.

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Martinsburg Police Department Patrolman W.A. Parks pulled over Barrett at 3:23 a.m. after Barrett allegedly drove onto the curb at the intersection of Buxton and Raleigh streets and then started swerving after turning onto Wilson Street, according to records filed in Berkeley County Magistrate Court.

After he stopped his car, Barrett "was very unsteady while exiting the vehicle, holding onto the car to steady himself. While walking to the rear of the vehicle, Mr. Barrett was staggering," Parks wrote in his police report.

Barrett's breath smelled of alcohol, police said.

Barrett failed three field sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test, but refused to submit to an Intoxilyzer test, records state.

Parks alleged in court records that while searching Barrett he found 3 grams of marijuana in a plastic bag in Barrett's left shoe.

Barrett was present in Magistrate Harry Snow's courtroom during the brief hearing Thursday morning, but did not say anything.

A trial date could be scheduled for February.

Barrett, who graduated from Martinsburg High School last year, was twice named West Virginia's Gatorade Player of the Year and was one of six wide receivers named to the Parade All-America team.

For two years in a row he was named the state's Kennedy Award winner - the highest honor a high school football player can receive in West Virginia.

His photograph and a brief biography appeared in Sports Illustrated in the magazine's "Faces in the Crowd" section.

Barrett is a student at West Virginia University, where he was ruled academically ineligible to play football during the recently ended season.

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