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Friday, Mar 27, 2015

Former NFL player and Hernando Coach gets probation


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CRYSTAL RIVER - A former NFL player and substitute teacher and coach at Weeki Wachee High School charged with running from law enforcement, a third-degree felony, was given two years supervised probation, according to the Citrus County Clerk of Court's Office.

Ricky Feacher, 59, of Crystal River, was arrested in April and faced felony possession of cocaine charges, misdemeanor possession of marijuana charges and charges of fleeing to elude. He also faced a charge of misdemeanor possession after a straw containing cocaine residue was found.

However, Assistant State Attorney Jeffrey Foster dismissed the three drug charges in Citrus County court April 25.

"We have to have a good faith basis that we can prove every charge that we file beyond a reasonable doubt," Foster said at the time. "The drugs in the case were found in a cigarette pack lying on the ground outside the defendant's vehicle. No one observed them in his possession, or observed him throw anything from the vehicle, and without more, mere proximity is not enough to prove possession."

Foster said law enforcement attempted to gather additional evidence against Feacher to uphold the drug charges, "but there wasn't enough."

According to reports provided by the Citrus County Sheriff's Office, that insufficient evidence followed the collection of fingerprints from drug items catalogued into evidence.

Feacher pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of resisting a law enforcement officer with violence, and following a non-jury trial the verdict was withheld Oct. 23, and Feacher was sentenced to two years supervised probation.

The conditions of Feacher's probation include DNA testing and random drug and alcohol screens at his expense, as well as about $500 in court costs, according to a felony court order.

Feacher's attorney could not be reached for comment.

Feacher is a 1972 graduate of Hernando High School who was inducted into the school's Sports Hall of Fame in 2011. He played nine seasons in the NFL from 1976-1984, primarily for the Cleveland Browns.

Feacher also worked in management for the Browns, rising to director of player development following his retirement, until the franchise moved to Baltimore in 1996.

Feacher was hired as a substitute teacher with the Hernando County School District on Feb. 16, 2012, and as of October 2012, still held the position.

Feacher was recently hired as a paraprofessional at Eastside Elementary School. However, one day prior to beginning work at the new position, Feacher was arrested and his employment terminated.

Heather Martin, executive director of business services for Hernando County Schools, said Feacher's employment was terminated because of the nature of the charges, adding that as long as an employee is not convicted of specific criminal offenses outlined in the school board policy manual, employment remains a possibility.

(352) 544-5271

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