Northern Illinois linebacker Devon Butler has been granted his release from the NIU football program and will no longer be a member of the football team, according a news release by the school on Wednesday afternoon.
“Devon has not lived up to the standards we set for members of the Northern Illinois football team,” NIU coach Dave Doeren said in the release. “At this time, we feel it is in the best interest of both Devon and of our football program for him to make a fresh start at another institution.”
The release also says that Butler's departure is not related to one single action or incident. Butler, who was to enter his redshirt junior year this season, was involved in an off-campus incident Sunday morning in which he was stabbed at a party in the 800 block of Regent Drive in DeKalb. Butler was treated and released and was back working out with the team on Monday morning.
Freddy E. Sparks-Ward, stands accused of stabbing Butler and was charged with armed violence, aggravated battery, battery and criminal trespass to real property. If convicted of the armed violence charge, he could serve up to 30 years in prison.
Butler's Twitter account shows tweets about a party Friday-Saturday at his apartment on the 800 block of Regent Drive. When asked at Tuesday's Mid-American Conference media day in Detroit if he would speak to Butler about putting that out on Twitter, Doeren said "There's going to be a lot of things we talk about."
About 3 a.m. Sunday, Sparks-Ward was involved in a physical fight with a man at a party in the 800 block of Regent Drive in DeKalb and was thrown out of the party, according to court documents.
Twenty minutes later, Sparks-Ward returned; he fought with partygoers again, and Sparks-Ward stabbed Butler in the upper left chest with a knife. Sparks-Ward suffered minor facial injuries when Butler and others fought back.
Several witnesses told police Butler was stabbed by Sparks-Ward, who fled on foot, according to court documents.
When police arrested him about 9:30 a.m., Sparks-Ward admitted to stabbing the victim and said he was involved in two fights with him. When he fled, Sparks-Ward said he threw the knife on the ground. Police recovered the knife, which had a blade longer than 4 inches, according to court documents.
On April 5, 2011, Butler was shot while in an off-campus apartment. Police have said the shooting was in retaliation for a drug deal that happened earlier in the day in which Mark Orozco and Richard Van Arsdale III supplied between 10 to 30 grams of marijuana, but did not get paid, to two other people.
The drug deal took place several hours before the 11:56 p.m. shooting at a location near the Aspen Court apartment building. According to police, the two who stole the drugs went to apartment No. 3 of 1009 Aspen Court and hid. Police stressed that Butler was not involved in nor was he present during or had knowledge of the drug transaction.
– Daily Chronicle staff, firstname.lastname@example.org