AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - One of the four Auburn University football players sentenced in a 2011 home invasion robbery hasn't served any of his time. Instead, Kowaski Kitchens has been playing football at North Carolina's Shaw University and recently declared for the NFL draft.
In 2011, Auburn police arrested four Auburn University football players, Kowaski Kitchens, Dakota Mosley, Antonio Goodwin and Michael McNeal for a home invasion, armed robbery.
The story made national headlines and all four players were kicked off Auburn University's National Championship Football team.
Goodwin went to trial, was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years. McNeal, Mosley and Kitchens pled guilty and each received a 15 year split sentence and were ordered to serve three years in prison.
Goodwin, McNeal and Mosley have been serving their time, but Kitchens hasn't served one second of his sentence.
On Wednesday morning, Kowaski Kitchens entered a Lee County Courtroom as the district attorney looked to revoke his split sentence and have him serve all 15 years in an Alabama prison. The judge set a hearing on the issue for Oct. 6.
In Kitchens' September 2013 plea agreement, Judge Christopher Hughes ordered Kitchens to serve weekends at The Wake County Detention Facility in North Carolina. Kitchens could play football on a scholarship at nearby Shaw University. His name is listed by #81 on their 2014 roster.
The plea agreement says Kitchens was to serve the remainder of his sentence after graduation.
Andrew Stanley, Kitchen's current attorney says Kitchens was supposed to begin serving his sentence the beginning of Shaw University's spring semester in January 2014, and turn himself into the jail on the weekends, over spring break and during the summer.
Stanley confirms that never happened and Kitchens never served time on the original sentence. When asked why, Stanley says he could not reveal the reason at this time.
Court documents indicate in June 2014, the Lee County DA learned Kitchens was not serving his time and an arrest warrant was issued. It took a year, but Kitchens was arrested in June of this year in Atlanta and brought to Lee County Detention Facility.
We asked Stanley what Kitchen was doing for the two years he was supposed to be serving weekends.
"He went to school and he played two seasons of football after December 2014, he declared for the NFL draft to play professional football and he has been it Atlanta trying to live out his dream," Stanley said.
While Kitchens was quote, "living out his dream" without apparently serving his sentence for armed robbery, all three of his former teammates are serving their time in The Alabama Department of Corrections.
Stanley did not represent Kitchens during his plea deal, but says he's never seen a Judge sentence a defendant to spend time in another state's prison, in this case North Carolina.
"None of my clients have ever received a sentence like that since I've been practicing law for more than seven years." Stanley said.
A Wake County Corrections Employee flew down from North Carolina for Wednesday's hearing. She testified Kitchens spent a total of three hours in their jail on a separate matter, before he was even sentenced for the Auburn armed robbery. He never served time on the robbery sentence.
She also testified Wake County Detention Facility never received an order from Lee County, detailing Kitchens incarceration at their facility and even if she had, she didn't think they could enforce it.
Judge Hughes informed us via a court administrator in Lee County he could not comment, saying ethics laws prevent him from commenting on cases. Lee County District Attorney Robbie Treese says he wants Kitchen to now serve the entire 15 years and will comment after the matter is settled.
Stanley was asked if his client had a personal responsibility to make sure he was doing what Judge Hughes has ordered him to do. Stanley says that information goes to the merits of the case and will be discussed during the October 6 hearing. Stanley says evidence will show Kitchens had no intentions of disobeying the court order.
Nobody, including Kitchen's defense attorney, prosecutors or the judge will comment on who's responsibility it was to make sure Kitchens was serving his time in North Carolina.
When reached for comment, the attorney general's office for clarification on the sentence to see if an Alabama Judge can order an Alabama defendant to serve time in an out of state prison.
Stanley said he hopes to work out a deal with prosecutors for a new sentence before the Oct. 6 hearing. So, this issue and why Kitchens never served his time in North Carolina - may never play out in open court. It does appear Shaw was aware of Kitchens' armed robbery arrest and legal troubles, because his attorney says Shaw offered him a scholarship in 2012, after his arrest in Auburn for armed robbery.
But in a response from the school, it appears that's not the case. In a statement sent by email, Shaw University Director of Public Relations sent this statement, saying:
At this time, we will not offer a formal statement regarding Mr. Kitchens. Feel free to report that our Coach and Athletic Director were unaware that Mr. Kitchens was to serve jail time as part of his sentence. Thank you.