Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Attorney calls teen accused in bus attack 'good kid'

ST. PETERSBURG — An attorney for the Dixie Hollins High School student accused of assaulting a 15-year-old girl on a school bus said his client is a good student and a star athlete who hoped to join the Air Force.

Branden Allen, 18, was arrested Thursday on felony charges of sexual battery and false imprisonment.

Two other varsity football players — Jacolbi Williams, 15, and Jermeil Douse, 16 — also were arrested on charges of being principals to sexual battery and false imprisonment.

"His family is very upset by this," said Lucas Fleming, who represents Allen. "From what has been told to me, he appears to be a good kid."

Fleming said Allen runs track and plays varsity basketball in addition to playing various positions on the varsity football team.

The Sheriff's Office said Allen, Williams and Douse pushed open the door of an empty school bus for students in after-school activities around 6:15 p.m. Tuesday. The bus driver left the bus to round up students, the Sheriff's Office said.

An unidentified 15-year-old girl followed the three on board. Williams and Douse kept watch while Allen digitally penetrated the girl, the Sheriff's Office said.

The Sheriff's Office said the incident was captured by a security camera and that Allen admitted the incident. The girl was not friends with any of the boys, deputies said.

Fleming said he has not reviewed the security footage but hopes it will show horseplay, not sexual assault.

None of the students has a significant criminal record.

Pinellas schools spokeswoman Andrea Zahn said the unnamed bus driver is still on duty, though no longer driving the after-school bus.

Johnnie Smith, 30, the older brother of Jermeil Douse, said his little brother was also a star football player who impressed college coaches as a running back and wide receiver.

"He's never been in trouble before," Smith said.

Times researcher Shirl Kennedy

contributed to this report. Abhi

Raghunathan can be reached at

[email protected] or (727) 893-8472.

Attorney calls teen accused in bus attack 'good kid' 05/09/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 14, 2008 1:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Cubs down Dodgers 3-2; force NLCS Game 5 Thursday


    CHICAGO — Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, former Ray Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

  2. One of the best places for investing in a rental house is in Tampa Bay

    Real Estate

    Two Tampa Bay ZIP Codes are drawing national attention.

    . If you're looking to invest in a house to rent out, few places are better than  ZIP Code 34607 in Hernando County's Spring Hill area, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.
 file photo]

  3. Bucs' Vernon Hargreaves: 'I'm not making any plays'


    TAMPA — Eli Manning gathered his receivers together on the sideline during the Giants' Week 4 game against the Bucs and told them he planned to target the weakest link of the secondary all afternoon.

    Patriots receiver Chris Hogan gets position in front of Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves for a 5-yard touchdown pass in New England’s win on Oct. 5.
  4. Suspect in Maryland office park shooting is apprehended


    EDGEWOOD, Md. — A man with a lengthy criminal past who was fired from a job earlier this year for punching a colleague showed up for work at a countertop company on Wednesday and shot five of his co-workers has been arrested, authorities said. Three of them were killed and two critically wounded.

    Harford County, Md., Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler shows a picture of Radee Labeeb Prince, the suspect in the workplace shootings.
  5. Lightning's J.T. Brown to stop anthem protest, focus on community involvement

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lightning wing J.T. Brown will no longer raise his first as a protest during the national anthem before games.

    J.T. Brown says he will work more with the Tampa police and groups that serve at-risk young people.