Robbery charges dropped, but two Hudson football players dismissed from team

NEW PORT RICHEY — Prosecutors have decided not to file charges against the Hudson High School quarterback and wide receiver who were arrested in July on robbery charges.

But Austin Smith, the quarterback, and Dontaie Collins, the receiver, have both been permanently dismissed from the Cobras squad, Coach Justin Fenton told the Times.

On July 29, Pasco sheriff's investigators said, Smith and Collins were invited to a home on Peppermill Drive in Beacon Woods to play video games with two teens there. While one teen was in the bathroom, a report said, Collins, then 17, grabbed $3,000 cash from a dresser and ran. As Smith tried to get away, the two teens held him while an adult in the home, Deborah Belfus, grabbed her .38 caliber revolver. She fired twice, hitting Smith, then 16, once in the leg as he ran out.

Deputies caught up to Smith and Collins, as well as a third man they said was the getaway driver, at Collins' home in Colony Lakes the next morning.

Reginald Cotman, 19, was waiting for the other two in a car around the corner, but his robbery charge also was dropped.

Assistant State Attorney Mike Halkitis said the incident didn't warrant prosecution.

"The stories are divergent as to who did what, what happened," Halkitis said.

Belfus was never charged in the shooting because there was no indication she purposely fired at anyone.

"She's a homeowner, and she hears this ruckus that people are robbing us, they're beating us," Halkitis said.

Smith and Collins were suspended from the team following their arrests. Smith had been reinstated last week and was allowed to practice with the Cobras but was dismissed from the team shortly afterward for a violation of team rules. He was not on Hudson's sideline for the Cobras' 25-21 loss to Fivay on Friday.

When asked if he cared to elaborate on what team rules Smith broke, Fenton said "Not particularly."

Collins was never reinstated and, along with Smith, has been dismissed as well for violating team rules.

Robbery charges dropped, but two Hudson football players dismissed from team 09/28/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 9:32pm]

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