Quinnipiac men’s basketball players plead not guilty to charges

Attorney: Azotam misidentified, Johnson was assaulted

By on September 28, 2011

Ike Azotam raises his hand, identifying himself to Judge Philip Scarpellino, flanked by lawyer Thomas Lynch (left) and James Johnson. Photo by Anna Brundage/Chronicle

Quinnipiac men’s basketball players Ike Azotam and James Johnson pled not guilty to assault and breach of peace charges in this morning’s arraignment at Meriden Superior Court, defense attorney Thomas Lynch said outside the court.

They are due to return to court Oct. 24 for a judicial pretrial, Judge Philip Scarpellino said.

Lynch said he thinks Azotam, 20, was “misidentified” in the police’s report and that Johnson, 21, was assaulted the night before the incident in which Azotam and Johnson were charged with third degree assault and breach of peace to the second degree. The two basketball players struck students who were attempting to break up a fight, according to the police report.

“This is just one of those situations where there’s two sides to every story,” Lynch said. “Everyone knows the events that happened Saturday night of that weekend, but bottom line is James Johnson was assaulted on Friday night and it spilled over into Saturday.

James Johnson

“We’re also confident once the university’s investigation is completed, it’ll show that Ike Azotam had no involvement whatsoever in this incident. I think he was misidentified, he was charged accordingly, but once the university completes its investigation I think it’ll come to light that he really had no involvement at all.”

No other students were mentioned in the police report and Lynch did not disclose any of the names.

“It’s an ongoing investigation. I don’t want to do anything that will taint that, or cause people to change their stories,” Lynch said. “The university is handling it, they’re handling it properly, and there are set procedures in [Quinnipiac’s] student handbook they have to follow, and they’re doing it. One way or the other there will be some sort of a hearing as a result of this.”

Lynch said neither Azotam nor Johnson have been arrested before or have a history of violence.

Ike Azotam

“There was no off-campus involvement,” Lynch said. “It’s really a Quinnipiac problem that the school will deal with, and once the school deals with it, the criminal justice system will.”

Johnson, a senior, led the Bobcats in scoring last year (16.1 points per game) and Azotam, a sophomore, averaged 5.1 points per game.



About Lenny Neslin and Phil Nobile


  1. Jacobb

    September 27, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Where are all those angry comments now?

  2. AquaBuddha

    September 28, 2011 at 12:39 am

    sick picture!

  3. Guilty

    September 28, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Retaliation is still a crime to assault another person, it was pre meditated. If Ike did not hit anyone, he still was their. This is guilty by association.

  4. Qu Student

    September 28, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    May I ask why an assault Friday night has anything to do with this situation? so if someone comes to my dorm and steals my latop, the next day I can go around stealing laptops from random rooms? I forgot Hammurabi is our schools president, and that an eye for an eye still applies. What an idiotic article.

    • Jacobb

      September 29, 2011 at 1:40 pm

      Wait, what?

  5. bill

    September 29, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I’m personally disgusted that these kids are still in school. If they are found guilty they should be expelled. That may sound harsh, but it is what the university would do with any other normal student. It disgusts me that these kids are still walking on campus while there are a house full of kids on whitney avenue that are currently searching for jobs because they were expelled for having parties. Having parties is much less of a crime that physically assaulting someone, But i guess it doesn’t matter what you do as long as your a QU basketballer. Doesn’t seem right.

  6. Hi

    September 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Innocent until proven guilty! Those kids on Whitney were, I assume, already shown to be “guilty” of their “crime.” Once the legal stuff is over, if these two are shown to be guilty, and still remain at Quinnipiac, it is at THAT point that we can begin to discuss unfair favoritism.

  7. JW

    September 30, 2011 at 11:54 am

    theres significantly less comments after they were proven innocent lol. Anyways, james and Ike, have a good season. Play well, and get your education. You guys are blessed with ability. Use it and better yourselves. Good luck.