Anthony J. Griglione returned Tuesday to the Kenai Peninsula to face charges stemming from an alleged robbery plot.
The former Soldotna High School football star, charged with five felony counts, sat for an arraignment yesterday afternoon in the Kenai Courthouse.
Police had a warrant out for Griglione's arrest after he allegedly staged a robbery during drug deal negotiations in the Soldotna Fred Meyer parking lot in December. Following the incident, Griglione left the state.
Police assumed he was headed toward Valley City State University in North Dakota, where Griglione was scheduled to start classes for the spring semester. But Griglione never showed. Instead, he headed to Bemidji, Minn., where he stayed with friends who attend Bemidji State University, according to Soldotna Police Sgt. Tony Garcia.
The state made a deal with Griglione's attorney not to arrest Griglione out of state as long as he agreed to appear at yesterday's arraignment in Kenai.
Griglione came to Tuesday's hearing wearing a North Face jacket and a pair of jeans and was taken into custody.
The 19-year-old faces one count of robbery with a deadly weapon, two assault counts of causing fear with a weapon, one count of theft and one count of misconduct involving a controlled substance.
Jesse W. Chumley-Lawson, 18, was also arraigned Tuesday on four felony charges relating to the incident. The charges include armed robbery, assault causing fear of injury and misconduct involving a controlled substance.
Griglione was a running back and linebacker for Soldotna and earned a 3.7 grade point average his senior year. He was named the 2008-2009 Gatorade Alaska football player of the year and helped lead Soldotna to three consecutive small schools state titles.
According to authorities, the incident that led to the charges took place on the afternoon of Dec. 29, 2009. Soldotna police and Alaska State Troopers responded to a call from 20-year-old Michelle Quelland saying she had been robbed at knifepoint in the Fred Meyer parking lot.
Quelland had parked her Dodge in the lot and Jesse Honrud sat in the passenger's seat. Then Griglione sat in the back seat of the vehicle to purchase 105 Xanax pills from Quelland for $700.
Xanax is a prescription drug used to treat anxiety and panic disorders.
Quelland did not have any Xanax during the time of the scheduled transaction. Quelland planned to drive Griglione to a separate location to pick up the Xanax, police said.
While the three were still in the vehicle, a 17-year-old, identified in police records as N.S.L., wearing dark clothing and a ski mask, ran up to the passenger's window and put a knife to Honrud's throat. N.S.L. demanded money and drugs. Quelland described the knife as silver and black, likely a folding knife.
Griglione then gave the masked minor $700, while everyone in the car emptied their pockets to show they did not have Xanax. According to police, Griglione told Quelland not to report the robbery to the police. He also told Quelland that she owed him $700. Griglione then got out of the car and fled the scene in another vehicle.
Further police investigation revealed Griglione had allegedly hired the masked minor, agreeing to pay $300, to stage the robbery so that Griglione would not have to pay $700 for the Xanax.
With Honrud, who has not been charged in the incident, in the front seat, the alleged plan went awry. The masked minor -- who was charged with robbery, theft and assault in the alleged attack -- was supposed to put the knife to Griglione's throat.
Police recovered the ski mask and knife early on in the investigation, which enabled them to obtain a confession from the 17-year-old.
The masked minor told police Griglione needed to borrow the $700 involved in the transaction from Chumley-Lawson. Investigation showed Chumley-Lawson knew how the $700 was to be used.
"He admitted to his part in the robbery," Soldotna Police Sgt. Tony Garcia said of Chumley-Lawson.
Andrew Waite can be reached at email@example.com.
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