A Depot Entertainment District bar owner said two Texas Tech football players arrested early Friday on second-degree felony charges of credit card abuse used a card without their name on it to buy about $100 in drinks and tried to use their status as Red Raiders to avoid arrest.
Texas Tech sophomores Jace Amaro and Kenny Williams were arrested about 2:20 a.m. Friday at the Firehouse Grill and Bar, 1719 Buddy Holly Ave., after employees of the bar became suspicious when the men were accused of offering a "big tip" to a bartender for using the credit card that didn’t match the names on their identification cards, according to the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office and Chris Bourne, owner of the bar.
Amaro’s attorney, Chuck Lanehart, wrote in a prepared statement: “Jace denies committing the offenses for which he was arrested, and he looks forward to a thorough investigation that will clear him of these accusations.”
Williams’ attorney, David Hazlewood, released a similar statement: “Kenny denies the allegations for which he was arrested and is confident that a full investigation will clear him of this charge.”
A police report states Amaro and Williams are accused of making a purchase on a Bank of America debit card without having the “effective consent of the card holders” early Friday at the Firehouse Grill and Bar, 1719 Buddy Holly Ave. The report states Amaro was in possession of and used an altered driver’s license.
They were released on their own recognizance this weekend.
Williams’ high school football coach said he was “absolutely surprised” Friday night when he heard about the arrest.
“He’s a good kid,” said Hendrickson (Pflugerville) football coach Chip Killian. “I mean, he’s got a great set of parents. I think the only problems I had was him wearing his earrings to the field house.”
Killian added that Williams “didn’t have any red flags at all; I’m hoping this is a one-time, isolated incident.”
Williams’ father, Kenneth Williams, declined to comment when reached by phone Monday evening.
Attempts to contact Amaro’s family and high school coach were unsuccessful.
Amaro, who attended MacArthur High School in San Antonio, and Williams were highly touted recruits for Tech’s 2011 class.
Both of the attorneys’ statements express the players’ regret for the negative attention brought to Tech and its football program, and both point out the high level of cooperation the two players exhibited with bar management and police.
Blayne Beal, associate athletic director at Tech, said the two are still on the team and cautioned people to not rush to judgment or make any rash decisions regarding the players’ arrests.
Beal said Amaro and Williams have discussed the incident with athletics officials.
He said he could not release any specifics about what the pair told Tech officials when interviewed.
Both returned home to their respective families for this week’s spring break vacation, he added.
“In all of these situations, we are in a fact-gathering process,” Beal said, speaking generally about Tech’s procedures. “That’s our No. 1 goal is to try to find out what happened in these situations; we don’t make rash decisions. We just talk to both our student athletes, assist with law enforcement, and if decisions need to be made from the university’s standpoint, they will be based on the facts and not made on allegations.”
Amaro and Williams were charged with two state jail felony counts, while Amaro also was charged with a misdemeanor count of misrepresentation of age.
A state jail felony is punishable by 180 days to two years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000.