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Williams to Appear at Hearing

By Jorge Milian, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 13th, 2004

CORAL GABLES—After spending the past three days in Jail, University of Miami recruit Willie Williams will find out today whether his stay behind Bars will be extended.

Williams will appear before Broward Circuit Judge Michael Kaplan at 1:30PM for a bond hearing. Kaplan will decide whether to release Williams on bond or keep him in custody until a final hearing on the case.

If Kaplan chooses to deny bail, Williams could remain locked up for another month, his attorneys said. Williams, 19, surrendered Tuesday morning at the Broward County Jail on a charge of violating his probation.

Kaplan issued an arrest warrant after Williams' controversial recruiting trip to the University of Florida two weeks ago. Williams was accused by Gainsville Police of battery and criminal mischief, both misdemeanors, and obstructing fire equipment a felony.

Williams was serving 18 months of probation following his arrest in July 2002 on charges of buglary and possession of burglary tools—both felonies. He was arrested 10 times as a juvenile before being charged as an adult at age 17 for stealing stereo equipment from Pembroke Pines store.

"He's hanging in there", said defense attorney Bradford Cohen, who has spoken to Williams daily. "He wants to get back to being a high school student. It's sinking in that his life, not just his football career, is hanging in the balance."

Asked what he though Kaplan might do, Cohen said: "I'm guarded. Violating probation is a very serious situation."

UM officials have stayed mostly mum about Williams' situation except to say they have delayed his application for admission.

"My main concern right now is keeping Willie out of jail," Cohen said. "After that, we can worry about the University of Miami."