A member of the University of Maine football team is being held in connection with a double stabbing last week in Florida that left a man dead and a woman wounded.
Zedric Joseph, 23, a senior from West Palm Beach, Fla., is being detained by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia. He is expected to be charged in Florida with one count of murder and two counts of aggravated assault, the Palm Beach Post reported.
The stabbing occurred Friday at a home on Quail Lake Drive in West Palm Beach. Officers who responded to a call found two victims with stab wounds, said Teri Barbera, media relations director for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
Both were taken to a hospital where the man, Ricardy Chery, 23, died from his wounds. The woman, Vashti Laurore, also 23, suffered stab wounds to a hand but has since been released from the hospital.
Joseph was identified as a suspect early in the investigation, but wasn’t found until several days later, in Georgia, about 500 miles north of West Palm Beach.
No other information about the incident was available Wednesday, Barbera said. Once Joseph is turned over to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, a probable cause affidavit will be released.
Joseph was suspended from UMaine on Saturday after officials learned of the stabbing, the university said. It’s likely that he was in Florida because UMaine was on its spring break.
Joseph, who enrolled at UMaine in 2011 after spending two years at Erie Community College in Williamsville, N.Y., was a promising running back until he suffered a broken leg in 2013 in UMaine’s home opener.
“This is very hard to comprehend,” UMaine football coach Jack Cosgrove said in a prepared statement. “We extend our deepest sympathies to the victims and their families and friends connected to this tragedy.”
In December 2012, Joseph was arrested by UMaine police on charges of domestic assault and criminal threatening. The resolution of that case is not clear, but a criminal background check on Joseph in Maine showed one misdemeanor conviction for disorderly conduct, in May 2013, for which he spent 48 hours in jail.
Joseph has no criminal record in Florida, according to state records.
Marcus Wasilewski, UMaine’s quarterback for the past two seasons, said he heard from the team’s offensive coordinator, Kevin Bourgoin, that Joseph was in some trouble.
“For me to hear that, there has to be some kind of story behind it,” Wasilewski said by telephone Wednesday from his home in Kulpmont, Pa. “It’s hard for me to believe that something like this could have happened. So hopefully, it’s not how it seems. If it is, it’s a shame.
“Zedric was never that kind of person. He always brought a good vibe to the locker room,” Wasilewski said.
In an interview with the Portland Press Herald in September, Joseph said he had to sit out the first season after he transferred to UMaine.
“I was ineligible,” he said. “A couple credits didn’t transfer so I ended up having to sit out that season.”
The next season, Joseph played in two games. Last fall, he was among three running backs who were expected to split playing time but suffered a broken leg just three games into the season. In the first game of 2013, Joseph caught an 85-yard touchdown pass.
In the interview in September, Joseph said he became good friends with Cabrinni Goncalves, who like Joseph was not on the roster in 2011 but has since become a starting linebacker.
“We’re like best friends,” he said. “I believe in God, so I believe it was perfect the way me and him were able to link up.”
Attempts to reach Goncalves on Wednesday were not successful.
According to UMaine’s media relations office, Joseph is majoring in child development and family relations.
“We were very saddened to learn that a University of Maine student has been arrested in connection with the death of one person and the injury of another in Florida,” said Kenda Scheele, UMaine’s assistant vice president and senior associate dean for students. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those whose lives have been forever changed by this horrific incident.”
This is the second time in a little more than a year that a UMaine football player has been connected to a homicide.
Jovan Belcher, who graduated from UMaine in 2009 and was drafted as a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, killed his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, then took his own life in December 2012.
Staff Writer Glenn Jordan contributed to this report.
Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at: