Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
The armed robbery charge against the Wings Academy star was dismissed on Monday.
“The case was advanced and dismissed,” Owen H. Lamb, Houston’s attorney, said Monday by phone. “Advanced from the July 12 date and dismissed.”
The 17-year-old Houston was initially charged with first-degree robbery after he and three friends allegedly stole an iPod from a 15-year-old boy on May 8 at Pugsley Creek Park in Clason Point.
“Deonte was home with his girlfriend, his mother and his grandparents on Mother’s Day, the day that the incident took place,” Lamb said. “It was his love for his mother and his grandmother that helped exonerate him as well because he sent them a text telling them that he loved them and then he jumped out of his bedroom to come out to the living room to say, ‘Happy Mother’s Day.'”
Lamb added: “It was simply a case of mistaken identity. The victim picked him out of Facebook. Somehow this kid picked him out of Facebook and then Deonte was picked up, brought in for questioning and placed in a lineup.”
Lamb said Houston’s two previous arrests were also previously dismissed.
“Deonte had no criminal record,” Lamb said Bronx DA Jessica Winik told him.
The New York Post reported Houston was arrested on Aug. 14, 2009 for criminal possession of a weapon, and also on Jun. 22, 2010 for gambling.
Houston, who averaged 14 points in leading Wings to the PSAL semifinals, hopes to get on with his life and attend prep school. New York Panthers head coach Gary Charles said Houston had initially been slated to attend South Kent (Conn.) prep.
“He’s going to prep school,” Charles said. “The plan was for him to go to South Kent. Now we’re hoping that the Headmaster will review the situation.”
South Kent coach Kelvin Jefferson politely declined comment.
Charles said Houston held an offer from Manhattan and interest from Dayton prior to the incident.
“Hopefully, the colleges and prep schools will give him the right look,” Lamb said, “the look that he’s deserved after all these years.”
(Photo courtesy Daily News)
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.