Mel Evans
September 09, 2015

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) Two former Rutgers University football players and another student pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges stemming from multiple home invasions, including one that occurred at a campus dorm room.

Former players Dre Boggs, 20, and Tejay Johnson, 23, along with Jianan Chen, 19, entered their pleas during a hearing in New Brunswick. Authorities have said the former players were involved in the home invasions, while Chen planned the robberies and identified potential victims.

Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Kuberiet said the former players took pictures of the drugs and cash they stole and left a trail of incriminating text messages. Authorities also allegedly found Johnson's fingerprint on one of the victim's cellphone. Charges against Boggs and Johnson included robbery, conspiracy and weapons offenses.

Kuberiet said the home invasions involved the use of a revolver, baseball bat, a hammer and knives. He said the victims were targeted because the defendants believed that they would not report the crimes.

''These were brutal, violent and aggressive home invasions where people should be sacrosanct,'' the prosecutor said.

Boggs' attorney, Jim Donohue, sought a reduction in his client's $600,000 bail, which he called ''outrageous.'' He also claimed the alleged victims were drug dealers who would say anything to get out of trouble.

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Dennis Nieves said he would review the bail issue and make a decision as soon as next week.

Boggs was among five football players dismissed from the team following their arrests last week. Boggs was arrested in the home invasion case. The other four were arrested and charged with aggravated assault, riot and conspiracy to commit a riot for a fight in April that left a man with a broken jaw.

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