Tuesday, March 23, 2010

USF President, New Football Coach, Player Missing; Police Have No Firm Suspects

Florida law enforcement confirmed earlier today that the president of the University of South Florida, Judy Genshaft, newly-hired head football coach, Louis "Skip" Holtz, and a football player believed to be Joel Miller are missing and all are presumed to be the victims of foul play. Authorities have named former USF football coach, Jim Leavitt, as a person of interest in the case.

Leavitt was dismissed from the USF football program at the end of last season when an internal investigation concluded that he grabbed walk-on Joel Miller by the throat and slapped him twice during halftime of a Nov. 21 football game. Leavitt has consistently denied the incident and filed a lawsuit earlier this month seeking the $9.5 million left on his seven-year contract, along with attorney's fees which are estimated by some legal experts to be about $9 million, leaving Leavitt a cool $500,000, which should just about be enough to retrieve his car from the Hillsborough County Impound Lot, where it was towed at the request of USF campus police while Leavitt was in a meeting on campus last January being fired.

The lawsuit accuses USF of discounting the testimony of Benny Perez and Jack Hypes, both Florida Highway Patrol officers, who said that Leavitt did not strike Miller, a story corroborated by USF strength coach Ronnie McKeefery, a player's parent, Mike Durakovic, safety Jerrell Young, four nuns, a Baptist minister, a Roman Catholic priest, a Jewish rabbi, the entire cheerleading squad and a player to be named later who claim they were all present in the locker room that fateful Saturday afternoon. According to the lawsuit, the university deemed all the witnesses to be "not credible" with no explanation other than "because we said so, that's why."

The case hinges, primarily, on the accusation by Miller, who later recanted his accusation, then, at another news conference re-instated his accusation, which brought about the accusation by Leavitt that Miller "wouldn't know an accusation if it grabbed that little punk by his skinny, lying, pencil neck and slapped him. Twice."

Miller's parents told reporters, "We are firmly convinced, without a doubt, that Jim Leavitt killed our son. Well, maybe not--maybe he didn't. No, in fact, he couldn't have killed Joel. It's just ridiculous to think that Coach Jim would do anything like that to our boy. No, wait, we think--we're sure he did. Yes, that bastard absolutely, positively killed our beloved son, little what's-his-name."

Authorities adamantly refused to disclose details of the trio's disappearance, other than to say that they discovered "three freshly-dug graves containing human remains; one middle-aged, well-dressed female, one 46-year old male with the name "Skip" tattooed on his left arm and one 21-year old male with hand imprints on his throat and on either side of his head" in an end zone of Raymond James Stadium. They refused to speculate on the identities of the bodies until lab testing was completed. When reporters suggested that the end zone of a football field seemed a rather high-profile place for a killer to bury his victims, one FDLE officer close to the case replied, "Not if you're familiar with the two teams that play there."

Leavitt, who was visiting his wife's family in Boca Raton, told reporters that he was returning a shovel and wheelbarrow that he had recently borrowed from his father-in-law and could not comment on either the lawsuit or the disappearance of the three people, due to the pending suit. Leavitt appeared relaxed and at ease, obviously enjoying his time away from football by doing a little gardening, as evidenced by the soil and grass stains on his clothing.

"You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talking... you talking to me? Well, there ain't nobody else here, so you must be talkin' to me. Who the hell do you think you're talking to? Oh yeah?"

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