Tresvant pleads not guilty

Alonso Tacanga

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CSUN leading scorer Deon Tresvant and Jeffrey Braswell, Head Coach Bobby Braswell’s son, pleaded not guilty over theft charges on Thursday at San Fernando Superior Court. Tresvant and Braswell are both accused of stealing from a Porter Ranch Best Buy on New Year’s Day.

A preliminary hearing was set for March 16.

Actor Phannuel Gbewonyo, allegedly also involved in the thefts, pleaded the same way.

The prosecution says that Jeffrey Braswell, who as of the date of the alleged incident worked for the Best Buy, logged into a cash register using the password of an employee who had the day off and allowed Tresvant, Gbewonyo and CSUN freshman Dallas Rutherford to check out items without paying for them. The thefts were discovered when store officials found a discrepancy at the register.

Rutherford worked out a deal and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor grand theft last month. He was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to complete 200 hours of Caltrans service.

Tresvant, Braswell and Gbewonyo, who still had to appear in court, were all represented by attorneys and limited themselves to acknowledging their pleas while their defenders did all the talking. One of the attorneys asked to not let cameras shoot the arraignment. The judge, Commissioner Jeffrey Harkavy, denied the request.

It was a morning of wait for Tresvant and Braswell. It took nearly two hours for them to finally step up to the podium. Tresvant was accompanied by his father while Braswell was there with his entire family.

Rutherford, who will not return to the team this season, was not in attendance. However, his sister, Kayla, was present.

The day’s events most likely end any hope of a Tresvant comeback to the team, which won a tight 62-57 battle against UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday night to stay in first place in the Big West Conference. Tresvant has been withheld from competition ever since the news of the charges came to light and has missed the Matadors’ past 11 games. CSUN’s gone 8-3 without him. After learning of what took place in the San Fernando court room, CSUN Athletics Director Rick Mazzuto said the Tresvant’s playing status remained the same it has since late Jan. 2 (the last time the guard played a game).

The Matadors host Long Beach State on Saturday afternoon on what could be the game that decides the Big West championship. Saturday is also Senior Day and Tresvant is expected to be honored along with senior teammates Tremaine Townsend, Josh Jenkins, Rodrigue Mels and Rob Haynes.

After that, CSUN will finish the regular season with game at UC Davis on Thursday and Pacific on March 7. The Big West Tournament will take place March 11-14.