Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

The Blue & Gray Press | February 22, 2019

Scroll to top


Two basketball players arrested


Elijah Willis.

Marcus Holley.

Marcellus Holley.


Two players on the University of Mary Washington men’s basketball team were recently arrested, one charged with grand larceny, the other with shoplifting.

On March 18, 2013, junior guard Marcellus Holley, 21, of Chantilly, Va., was arrested for shoplifting from a Wal-Mart, according to the Fredericksburg Daily Crime Report for March 18, 2013. This is Holley’s second run-in with the law while at UMW.

Holley was also arrested for public intoxication on Sept. 6, 2011, according to the Fredericksburg Daily Crime Report for that day.

On March 25, 2013, a grand jury indicted junior forward Elijah Willis on a felony grand larceny. The alleged offense took place on Feb. 20, 2013. On April 2, Willis was arrested on capias, or arrest warrant. The arraignment is set for April 24, 2013. Information on Willis’ arrest comes from the criminal division of the Fredericksburg Circuit Court.

The university’s athletic department recently suspended two members of the team, but would not discuss their identity.

“I can confirm that two student athletes were indefinitely suspended from the men’s basketball team,” said Athletics Director Ken Tyler when asked about disciplinary action against the players. “It is not the policy of the athletic department to publicly release names of students involved in disciplinary action.”

UMW men’s basketball Head Coach Rod Wood declined comment on the issue.

The Bullet reached out to Holley and Willis for comment, but a response was not received before the time of publication.

Willis and Holley combined for 10 starts this past season, contributing seven points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 24.7 minutes per game in 2012-2013.


  1. Goody

    So long for Goody’s good reputation with UMW, eh?

  2. eh

    i dont think the bullet should write about students like this until they have been found guilty, and for crimes that are more serious than shoplifting. it just feels like public humiliation from our student-run paper.

  3. Duh

    Well if you dont want to be humiliated, dont do stupid things. Seems fairly simple to me.

  4. James Witheridge

    I would like to know if other students on campus get this kind of front page treatment when they are ACCUSED of breaking the law. This story does not seem right to me.

  5. J. Wright

    both of them weren’t charged with grand larceny, just one. and to be charged doesn’t mean they’re found guilty. To tell someone not to make a mistake sounds great in hindsight, the fact is that mistakes happen. Why not wait until they go through the justice system and until/if they’re found guilty. This is a pointless article that doesn’t need to be front page news. Just seems like a lame attempt to humiliate two basketball players

  6. seriously, bullet?

    Is this paper struggling that much to come up with news?

  7. Athletes

    First of all, the information in this article isn’t even true. The players have continued to practice and participate with the team publicly during the DIII spring event yesterday. So “suspended indefinitely” surely isn’t the case. This type of publicity is appropriate in the police blotter section of the paper. Athletes who have been arrested multiple times from the same team (Men’s Lacrosse) have not received the same publicity. It is unfathomable that these two are front page news when so many UMW athletes have been arrested. Men’s lacrosse alone has had 14 plus arrests and that only accounts for current players, and they weren’t put on the cover for the whole student body and alumni, and really anyone with access to the internet, to see.

  8. Anonymous

    This article is completely ridiculous and unwarranted. This is not the first time athletes have been specifically targeted in this newspaper and it’s getting a little old. If non-athletes had committed these offenses, it is highly unlikely that an article like this one would have been published. It is also quite ridiculous that this was published on the front page. Is there seriously nothing else that you can find to write about? Athletes here are constantly ridiculed and picked on when in reality they give back to the community and do a lot of good for this school. When the bullet decides to publish an article like this about a non-athlete, then I’ll see how this is fair. But until then, this is a blatant attack on athletes.

  9. Anonymous Twitter

    Just like the name of the anonymous Twitter account that is run by the UMW Bullet, this article is crap and hurts the longterm credibility of the paper.

    The problem with this article is that the Bullet fails to have a clear policy for how, when and who they report on. Throughout the year, dozens of students steal things, obtain DUI’s etc, but the Bullet selectively reports on the stories they think are “controversial.” In the entire 2012-2013 school year, there have been only two feature articles solely devoted to discussing an accused (not convicted) persons crime. One was an English professor, another was yesterday’s story about basketball players.

    The Bullet has taken a huge step back in recent years. If you don’t believe me, just look at the number of advertisements they have in their paper trying to get students to write for them. It doesn’t take a college degree to know why students don’t want to write for the Bullet; it’s because the paper is an insult to the nobel profession of journalism and this story is just more proof.

  10. James Witheridge

    I am just very disappointed that the Bullet is choosing who they are putting in the Newspaper. Others are right, there have been many students who have been arrested all year, some who were EXPELLED but never graced the front page of the Bullet. I know there is a policy of reporting students names, but these students have now been HUMILIATED because of charges: simple charges that they have NOT been convicted of… as of yet. We have to look at this article at face value.

    Look at the facts: Holley was arrested for public intox, just like many other college students. But they’ve never made the front page. In fact, they have never made the front page this year. Holley was arrested for shoplifitng. So have other students this year. Heck, it was OFF CAMPUS Shoplifting. So… that sucks, but why is that front page news?

    WJ Willis was indicted by a grand jury. You know what that means. It means that the Grand Jury feels there is enough evidence to go to trial. NOT THAT HE HAS BEEN CONVICTED OF A CRIME YET. It looks to me that this is the FIRST TIME (according to the Bullet) that EJ has been convicted of a crime while at UMW. And it looks to me that out of 4,500 students, he is not that only one who was charged with a crime. I bet there are many students. But for some reason EJ has made the front page. In fact his crime somehow is connected with Holley. When in reality, there is no relation to one another. Their pictures are plastered on the Bullet front page like MUGSHOTS because for some reason these two students are important enough to be singled out and dragged in front of the crowd of public opinion.

    You might ask, well, they are athletes, they are role models for other students. Then why haven’t other athletes in the recent weeks been placed on the Front Page of the Bullet. Athletes have been arrested for partying, smoking week, for violence and breaking the UMW Code of conduct, just like other students… yet they didn’t make the front page. These students.

    You could argue these students are apart of the Basketball Team, so it makes front page news. Okay… is the team under intense scrutiny because of the coaches actions over a year ago… I don’t think so. if that were the case, we would have seen more reference to the team in the article and more stories like this.

    The point of this is THESE TWO STUDENTS ARE AVERAGE UMW STUDENTS WHO ARE LEARNING AND TRYING TO GROW UP IN A UNIVERSITY THAT CARES AND UNDERSTANDS THAT EVERYONE MAKES MISTAKES. It looks like the Bullet is treating these two students differently. Do they deserve to be treated differently… according to human decency… no.

    The Bullet has the authority to print whatever they want, but tell me something. Why criticize the universities policies on diversity, make fun of our SGA President, explain in your parody issue that teachers are being hired because they are minorities and place these two young men on the cover of your newspaper, which blatantly treats these students differently, and then have the nerve to say you’re printing the news in a fair and unbiased manner. At some point, the Bullet has to look internally and wonder if they are actually fulfilling their mission as reporters. If they want to hold students accountable for their “almost actions” then hold everyone accountable. Don’t take two young me and shove them on the front page, especially when the story has not yet finished. We shouldn’t be drooling at the opportunity to print a tabloid sensation. We should be working to print honest facts, in an unbiased manner and treat all sources fairly.

    Finally, the Bullet said that they are going to publish the names of all students who violate the public trust, especially with the community. As of right now, EJ has not been convicted of a crime, or proven guilty. Stop nailing students to the cross of public opinion before you KNOW he’s committed a crime. Then think to yourself, “is this front page news?” And then think to yourself, “Are we treating everyone the same?” Remember, plenty of students are charged with crimes, not convicted… but they don’t make front page news. Even students who are high up on the social ladder in our campus governance.

    I mean no disrespect with these comments, as a student I am disappointed that the Bullet does not remember they are nothing without their readers. And when that trust is violated, so does their credibility. As a student I am disappointed and I hope the Bullet takes the time to think internally if they are doing the right thing.

  11. eb

    Arguing the Bullet made a mistake in reporting this issue because they weren’t yet found guilty, means James Holmes shouldn’t have made the news as he is yet to be charged. What I don’t understand is why these students were considered more important to single out than others who have been accused of the same. If the two are found ‘not guilty’ they ought to be considered honorable for undergoing a needless and painful process, and if the opposite, the opposite feelings.

  12. The realist

    Look ppl, this is the news. It tells what’s happening. Leave your opinions and feelings out of it. When someone is accused of breaking the law, it goes on record. If found not gulity that goes on record as well. Let’s not condemn The Bullet for just reporting the facts. Let the lawyers defend the persons of interest and leave it at that. There is no personal agenda other then those that seek justice for something that does not involve them or their opinion. Let the bullet report the news and the judge give the verdict.

    This is the freedom of the press. Let’s not condemn them for informing us. Nor let us weigh sins, if a attempt to murder or sexual assault here was the case would the response be different..I think let us not weigh the wrongs. There is an issue of concern from UMW students that they need to know about this is the price one pays when they cross that thin line. Mistakes happen yes but let us all remain unbiased untill a verdict is given.

    once again The Bullet is just reporting the facts so just relax!

  13. not exactly

    i think the problem most people are having is the bullet’s inconsistency rather than the fact that they are reporting what happened. again, why are these crimes more newsworthy than other crimes this year? i’m pretty sure there were over 100 off campus arrests this year, but these 2 are singled out? sure, report the facts, release the names, but be consistent and fair in your reporting. either commit to do this for everyone, or no one. otherwise it just feels biased and wrong.

  14. Teresa Kennedy

    I am concerned about several things here, in addition to a pattern in reporting by the Bullet. First, I don’t want anyone here to confuse T.Kennedy the commentator with me. I am a big supporter of students here and am proud that I understand that all students make mistakes. The other issue I have I will address separately in a letter to the editor, but I will emphasize here that to print articles that give the appearance of bias is unfortunate.

  15. J

    I think the reason athletes get more coverage is because they are in the public eye much more than a non-athlete UMW student. I mean, tons of people in the world cheat on their spouses and sleep around but do “normal” people get as much new coverage as someone like Tiger Woods or other celebrities? *shrug*

  16. Maggie

    I think in situations like this, it is important to remember that these are the reported alleged actions of one member of the group. I do not feel that it is wise to bring down the whole band because of the alleged actions of one individual.
    Also, how many musicians do you listen to that have been convicted of crimes? I mean, Chris Brown is still on the charts… I don’t think music should be determined by its maker(s), because so often, the creation far surpasses the creator(s).

  17. Maggie

    I think it is important to keep in mind that no one really knows the facts but the people directly involved. Likewise, I think that this should have remained private. Whatever crimes they allegedly committed were not on campus, associated with the campus, or a threat to the campus or the safety of those on campus.
    Undoubtedly numerous crimes have been committed by students, yet The Bullet does not provide us with a consistent coverage of that information. I’m incredibly perplexed as to why they felt the need to write a front page story about two unrelated crimes that have not even gone to court. Nothing newsworthy has taken place except the humiliation of these two guys, which is just plain awful.
    I can understand why someone may be unsympathetic toward someone accused of committing a crime, but I think it is important to consider how you would feel if it were you and your picture was on the front page of The Bullet and everyone was acting like they knew what the actual situation was. People make mistakes all the time, some of those mistakes break the law, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve the privacy, respect, and decency that anyone else should get when it comes to making mistakes, no matter how great or small. You are not suddenly less human because you commit a crime.
    I just hope that the reputations of Holley and Willis are not ruined because of The Bullet. Let their reputations be defined by their words and actions, not by the words and actions of some other source. Also, let your opinions of them be defined by your experiences interacting with them, and not by what others say.

  18. Anonymous

    The Bullet is racist. Incidents have previously happened in the UMW athletic department but we hear no word of it. Now, when two black students are arrested it is front page news. Shame on The Bullet.

  19. Dave Pierandri

    I’ll make a few brief points here. As someone who has been affiliated with the university for some time now, I can say this is not the first time this has happened. I for one have never been overly impressed with The Bullet’s quality, but that’s not the issue at hand. Some people will undoubtedly be singled out for their missteps while others remain in obscurity, but this newspaper seems to make a habit of it. This is a university paper that should make every effort to cover all stories fairly and use best judgement for which stories warrant more attention than others.

    It saddens me that we have to even mention racism. Hopefully the sheer accusation will be enough for the editors to think long and hard next time they face this kind of situation.

    Lastly, I’d like to make a broader point. While I am upset that our student athletes have found themselves in these situations, I can’t help but to notice the disparity in student body attention, involvement and overall level of caring when it comes to UMW athletics. Where was everyone during our home basketball games this year? We have the nicest gym in the conference, arguably among the best in the country for a Division 3 institution. Why not come out and cheer for our athletes during the season instead of waiting until one makes a mistake to pay them any attention? I was downright embarrassed with the lack of attendance at the home games this season. Also, how is it that when one of our student athletes wins a NATIONAL CHAMPIONHIP, the article runs on the back page of The Bullet? The Free Lance-Star ran a front page story on this student, and he deserved it.

    Thanks for reading.

  20. Truth

    Now that two black athletes are accused of a crime, it’s front page material? I’m so happy umw prides itself on “diversity” when the people on the news staff show their racism. When have white athletes ever been on the front page? Why does it have to be athletes at all? We should put everyone’s face that has ever committed a crime on the front page.
    The newspaper is a joke. The writers are racist and the editor is a moron. Welcome to Mary Washington.

  21. The Voice of Reason

    Why do the Editors of The Bullet continue to use an anonymous Twitter account to respond to peoples above comments? Have some journalistic integrity and prentend like you are a real paper. The only reason why I am not using my name on this comment is that I am fearful you will attack me anonymously just like you did EJ and others lives you hope to destroy. This behavior is pathetic and shameful.

  22. Ridiculous

    I can’t believe our school paper, run by students, would try and humiliate Ej and Marcellus. I have read every issue of our paper and not once have I seen such a BLATANT pointing out of these two students from crimes that are months old, out of all of the crimes committed on campus. I know people who have done worse and been CONVICTED and not even mentioned in this BS paper of ours. Instead of gaining readers all you did was piss off most of the student body because we all know what good guys both of them are. So, “Joe”, fu*k you.

  23. also

    Looks like this is the only article you have written for our paper as well Joe, at least according to online archives. What a shame you decided to put someone else in the dirt for your trash journalism to get published. Asshole

  24. Dan

    If you look at the Bullets police reports, after every little case they repeat the same line: the case is pending. The case is still pending for BOTH of this gentleman and yet its front page news? With pictures to complete it? What did you gain from over exposing these two? Do you all sit in your editors room and chuckle to yourselves about discracing our school newspaper? I’ve never been more let down as a student

  25. rick

    You can beat around the bush all you want. Of course they won’t show Lacross players pictures.The person who wrote the article could not wait to show the pictures of two young black men.

  26. Expect

    What do you guys expect when our JRB president wants to legalize discrimination within clubs? She’s a sympathizer of racial and orientation-based discrimination.

  27. whoa

    I didn’t hear about that. Can you elaborate?

  28. Dumb

    I also heard that our former SGA President is a compulsive liar.

  29. Chapman

    I could not agree more..

  30. Check your facts.

    This comment is 1)completely unwarranted and 2)irrelevant to the story. The entire comment thread has been discussing the Bullet, so to come in and accuse an actual person of being a “sympathizer of racial and orientation-based discrimination” who has had nothing to do with the situation is just horrendous. If you look at the article written, it is a descriptive statement of why the bill was written and what it is saying. It has one sentence that states a personal opinion, in which it says “personally, I would hope that each university could be responsible for their diversity and inclusion discrepancies rather than having state government involvement.” Wow, sure does sound like a sympathizer of discrimination to me. The article focuses on spirituality and says absolutely nothing about “orientation-based discrimination.” If you derived that from the fact that she is chairman of College Republicans, then you might want to consider yourself discriminatory.

  31. LIZ BRENNAN :)

    I’ve seen this comment thrown around on several articles on the Bullet site. It’s laughably untrue, but your persistent concerns about my article regarding SB1074 and how that could affect the integrity of JRB is admirable – I appreciate your devotion to a fair and impartial judicial system. If only every student could be so invested in what JRB does, and what my role is as president.

    Truly, if you take issue with the argument I made in my article 2 months ago, I welcome a productive dialogue. I can also reassure you that my personal beliefs, which you have grossly misconstrued, have no potential to intervene with the judicial process. Decisions are made by our 20 elected board members. Email me at if you’d like to talk further – I’d love to.

    However, if you’d rather continue to spread libel, I request you do it independent of the JRB name. I transitioned out as president 2 weeks ago, and it is unfair to question their integrity because you disagree with me personally. I’m fair game though – challenge me. GOD THAT LIZ BRENNAN IS A BIGOT. I heard she only eats the white half of black&white cookies.

    Your turn. Be creative?

  32. Dumb

    ^^Love this^^

  33. bear

    Well, there was an entire article about how she supported Bob McDonnell’s legislation denying people access to institutions based upon race/color/gender/orientation/etc and how she believes it should be allowed for clubs, and even brought up the example of the “Black students association.”

    But apparently the editor has since deleted the article, because, I don’t know…she openly admitted that she’s okay with that kind of discrimination.

    But I’m sure you’ll say “what article? I don’t see any article.” and pretend it never happened.

  34. bear

    Also, why would I assume that of the CR? Apparently you should look in the mirror and see who’s the real discriminat(or) here.

  35. bear

    Oh nevermind apparently I just couldn’t find it.

    Here it is.

    “I am also an active member of UMW’s Black Student Association, even though I am not black. UMW’s Statement of Non-Discrimination means they cannot ask me to leave their group. However, if black students on campus wanted their group to be exclusive–perhaps this club being their only escape from a campus dominated by white students–and they looked to ban me from their club, that should be their right. It is reasonable for them to want that private space. As a student who does not fit the very basic description for membership, I am not being discriminated against for being removed”

    So it is there right to make her leave because she’s white?

    That is the VERY DEFINITION of racial discrimination. Flip that around: so there can be a “white students” group and other colors shouldn’t be able to join?

    What she just said is that she sympathizes with discrimination.

  36. aaa

    “I am also an active member of UMW’s Black Student Association, even though I am not black. UMW’s Statement of Non-Discrimination means they cannot ask me to leave their group. However, if black students on campus wanted their group to be exclusive–perhaps this club being their only escape from a campus dominated by white students–and they looked to ban me from their club, that should be their right. It is reasonable for them to want that private space. As a student who does not fit the very basic description for membership, I am not being discriminated against for being removed”

  37. Check your facts.

    We are referencing the same article, as there was only one that would fit this description, and I think I made clear in my first comment that I had read it and understood its contents. Also, the exact legislation states that it “Permits, to the extent allowed by law, religious or political student organizations at public institutions of higher education to determine that only persons committed to the organization’s mission may conduct certain activities.” It does not pertain in any way to institutions. It does not pertain to anything outside of political or religious groups. Therefore, it does not apply to race/color/gender/orientation/etc (unless a political or religious group defined themselves in that way). I don’t know why you would assume that of a CR, that is why that comment was made. The connection was made because nothing in the article, nor the legislation, discusses anything related to orientation-based discrimination. Therefore, it seemed like the only way you derived that was from her party association.

    Oh, and the article wasn’t deleted. I invite you to read it again.

  38. people

    Its still not a good look. A school with less than 10% of blacks is making headlines with two black student athletes. With racially charged comments. (See title of article on website)

  39. Simple

    If you don’t want to be on the front page of a school newspaper for a crime you committed, then don’t steal others property.

  40. Julia Ruane

    They haven’t been proven guilty, so how can you be sure they’ve done “stupid things” as you suggest?

    I’m not strongly opposed to the Bullet covering arrests, but I’m astounded by the thoughtlessness of its coverage. Why feature these two athletes in particular, when they are far from the only athletes at this school who have been charged with a crime?

  41. vandunkelschreiber

    its it just me or dose the bullet seam no better than a tabloid newspaper.

  42. philgreen

    Of course, there have been more than a dozen arrests on the lax team this year, and non of them are plastered on the front page.

  43. philgreen

    Sadly. Obviously.

  44. philgreen

    Of course there have been at least a dozen arrests on the lax team, and non of their white faces are showing up on page one.

  45. philgreen

    Yeah, but there have been a lot of arrests on other teams this year, and none of that made it to page one.

  46. philgreen


  47. saydijoy

    I understand the need for the media to get viewers and to address information that’s relevant or hard hitting. Further, I understand the need to inform the community of suspects or major events especially on a campus. There is a freedom of speech issue here and might be an underlying racial tension issue as well. I find it horrendous that these two students among many, including myself, that have been charged are presented and on the front page. To single out people that are a threat is one thing, to single out two African American students for misdemeanor charges that haven’t even been established is another. The student body should want to protect and help their community including the convicted students. Unless convicted of some major charge I see this as an unnecessary report compared to one glorifying Mary Washington. In addition, it is a concern to me that such acts could bring a highlight to the need to be proactive. In my experience articles and photographs about personal information can harm the entire student body, cause riots, and make people fearful. The Bullet should take more caution to their articles and what can be conveyed. The media is a powerful source.

  48. MP

    So I was wondering exactly how many people would play the race card on this, especially since we should be focused more on other aspects, such as the crimes that were committed and the debate under the Thomas Bowman article. All I’ll say in response to this is that if you want a newspaper that only glorifies Mary Washington, there are enough PR things on campus already that should be doing that. Don’t turn a newspaper into another UMW propaganda machine.

    Propaganda machine might be a little bit of a stretch, but you all should understand. But then again, so was your ‘riot’ point I’m hoping.

  49. saydijoy

    Riots are easy to start it just takes ignition. My old high school had one due to such article posts in the daily paper. It is racial because there are numerous other white athletes that have been charged or convicted and yet they haven’t appeared in the paper.