Bond Set For Former Basketball Players Charged With Robbery

By JOE MILICIA, Associated Press Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - Bond was set at $50,000 Friday for two former college basketball players charged with robbing Cleveland Indians pitcher C.C. Sabathia.

Damon Stringer and Jamaal Harris did not enter a plea when they appeared in Cleveland Municipal Court.

The former teammates at Cleveland State University face three to 10 years in prison if convicted of aggravated robbery and kidnapping.

Sabathia and his cousin, Jomar Connors, of Vallejo, Calif., were robbed at gunpoint after midnight May 17 at a downtown hotel, where they attended a party.

Sabathia was robbed of $44,102 in cash and jewelry, including a necklace and earrings. No one was injured.

Police Sgt. Bruce Cutlip said some of Sabathia's possessions have been recovered.

Stringer, 24, and Harris, 23, were arrested on Wednesday.

A preliminary hearing for Harris (pictured in court, above) was scheduled for May 31. Stringer waived a hearing.

Both men were expected to post bond Friday.

Stringer's attorney, John Pyle, said Stringer, who also played basketball at Ohio State but left the Buckeyes because of legal troubles, could lose a chance to play overseas next season because of the charges.

Harris' attorney, Joan Synenberg, said her client is innocent.

"He's never been in trouble a day in his life," she said.

Stringer and Harris also were teammates at Cleveland Heights High School.

Stringer was selected Ohio Mr. Basketball in 1995. He led the Buckeyes in scoring his two seasons there and was chosen Big Ten freshman of the year.

Harris was a fifth-year senior last season at Cleveland State. He led Cleveland Heights to the Division I state championship.

Sabathia was 17-5 as a rookie last season and finished second in American League Rookie of the Year balloting to Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki.

Sabathia is the second Indians player to be the victim of a holdup in the last six months. Utilityman Jolbert Cabrera was shot in the buttocks in a carjacking in Colombia in December.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)