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Ex-Suspect in Student’s Death Is Charged in Rape

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A former Compton College basketball star originally suspected in the mysterious 1989 death of an honor student from the school has been arrested in Cleveland on suspicion of rape, a Cleveland police spokesman said Wednesday.

Roy Williams, 25, was released on $5,000 bond last week after he pleaded not guilty to a charge of raping an 18-year-old Cleveland State University student during a fraternity party at the Ohio school, Lt. Marty Flask said.

Williams, a center who was suspended from the Cleveland State squad two days before his arrest, was taken into custody by Compton police last year on suspicion of slaying Lina Aldridge, 19.

Aldridge’s body was found July, 29, 1989, stuffed into the trunk of her car in San Diego. Williams, who police said was the last person seen with her, initially told investigators that Aldridge overdosed at a San Diego crack house that the two had visited.

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Although the San Diego County coroner’s office found no traces of drugs in Aldridge’s body, Williams was released for lack of evidence. He was never charged in the case.

Investigators ended their investigation of the incident in October, 1989, after an autopsy failed to determine the cause of Aldridge’s death or evidence of foul play.

The 6-foot-8 Williams had been offered a basketball scholarship by Idaho State University last year, but officials in the athletic department said the offer was rescinded because Williams did not have enough college credits to transfer.

Williams went instead to Cleveland State, where he is a junior majoring in social work. However, he was suspended indefinitely from the team for what a Cleveland State spokeswoman said were academic problems.

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“It was totally coincidental that the (rape) came up,” said Kelly Portolese of the school’s athletic department.

Williams turned himself in at Cleveland police headquarters when he learned that police had a warrant for his arrest in connection with the rape allegation. The basketball player told police that the incident was merely a casual relationship to which the woman had consented, Flask said.

The woman did not immediately report the incident to the police, but instead sought help from rape counselors, Flask said. The counselors encouraged the woman, whose name was not released, to go to the police.

The case has been referred to a grand jury, Flask said.

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