Former Syracuse player facing harsher charges in stabbings

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) A former Syracuse University football player has been indicted on first-degree assault charges in connection with the stabbings of two former teammates.

The indictment handed down Thursday against 20-year-old Naesean Howard also includes charges of second-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Howard is accused of attacking defensive backs Chauncey Scissum and Corey Winfield at a barbecue in mid-April on the university's south campus.

Police say Scissum was critically injured with wounds to his neck, chest, left shoulder and bottom lip. Winfield was stabbed in the lower back, chest, abdomen and left wrist. Both are recovering.

Howard, who has been suspended from the university indefinitely, remains free on bail. No date has been set for his arraignment.

The first-degree assault charge alleges that Howard intended to cause ''serious physical injury'' and carries a possible sentence of up to 25 years in prison. Howard originally was arrested on two second-degree assault charges.

Defense attorney Irene Aurora Flores told The Post-Standard of Syracuse that ''there's a lot more to the story'' but declined further comment.

Howard, a former Orange defensive back who grew up in Syracuse, left the program in September 2014 before re-enrolling this year. Though he never played a game for the Orange, Howard had hoped to rejoin the team, but new head coach Dino Babers decided not to offer him that chance.

Babers said the final decision was based on a disturbing pattern of off-field issues.

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