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Crawford Sentenced, Says He’ll Transfer From UCLA

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Willie Crawford, formerly a UCLA free safety, pleaded no contest to simple assault and was sentenced to 60 days in the Los Angeles County Jail Wednesday in Beverly Hills Municipal Court.

In addition, Crawford, 20, was placed on formal probation for two years and fined $250. Crawford and two others also were ordered to pay $410 in restitution to the victim, Edilberto Munoz.

Crawford, speaking publicly for the first time in almost a year, said he will begin his jail term about June 20. Although suspended from the UCLA football team since August, Crawford is still a student at the school. He will conclude the spring quarter on June 15.

Crawford, the son of former Dodger star Willie Crawford, was arrested in October by West Hollywood police when he and two friends--Kevin Bourtin and Lincoln Sneed--allegedly struck Munoz during an altercation in the middle of an intersection.

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Bourtin and Sneed testified that Crawford tried to break up the fight in which Munoz was not seriously injured.

Jonlyn Callahan, a deputy district attorney, said the defendants gave conflicting reports to police and probation officers about the altercation.

“We have evidence all three were involved,” she said. “Who was more culpable is difficult to say.”

Robert M. Talcott, Crawford’s attorney, said he was disappointed with the jail sentence.

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Crawford appeared before the same judge, Charles Rubin, last August when he was convicted of misappropriation of stolen property. He was placed on summary probation for that charge, and shortly thereafter was suspended from the Bruin team.

Crawford, a 6-foot, 200-pound athlete who excelled at Beverly Hills High School, never played a down for UCLA. He was a redshirt freshman in 1988.

He said Wednesday he is transferring to the University of Houston, where former Bruin assistant coach Larry Coyer recently was named defensive coordinator.

Crawford is leaving UCLA with bittersweet memories. He recently was informed that his scholarship would not be renewed for the next school year.

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“They basically turned their back on me when I got into trouble,” he said.

“I spent two years here; it hasn’t been two good years. I regret not leaving last summer.”

Crawford admits he was involved in both incidents but said UCLA athletic officials did not consider his side in the assault case.

“This is not the type of school that forgives and forgets,” he said. “The athletic department decided I was a bad risk for the program.”

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Crawford said, however, that football Coach Terry Donahue and Athletic Director Peter Dalis were honest in dealing with him.

After the first incident, Crawford was told he would have to sit out another year or attend a community college before getting the chance to return to the Bruin program.

“Willie was extremely well liked by all the players and coaches at UCLA,” Donahue said.

“And we really feel sad for him and his family because of the effects of this whole incident. We wish him well in his new endeavors.”

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