Former ‘Mr. Football’ Found Guilty of Rape, Robbery

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio — A rising football star who was twice named “Mr. Football” in Ohio was found guilty Thursday of four counts related to a violent home invasion.

Erick Howard, 20, was found guilty of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, rape and kidnapping.

All counts had a firearms specification.

Prosecutors connected Howard to a robbery on Sunford Avenue SE on Aug. 20, 2011, saying he was one of two armed, masked men who duct taped a couple inside their home and threatened their lives while demanding money.

The other man, Seth Obermiller, 20, of North Canton, has already pled guilty to charges of aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery and is serving a seven-year prison sentence.

Obermiller testified on behalf of Stark County prosecutors in the case.

Under oath, Obermiller told the jury that Howard was with him when the apartment was robbed.

A third man, Michael Taylor, 20, who drove the getaway vehicle, pled guilty to an attempted burglary charge and has been placed on probation.

Last week Howard rejected a plea deal from Stark County prosecutors, according to his attorney, Rufus Sims.

Sims told Fox 8 News that a plea deal of 12-years in prison was offered by prosecutors at a final preliminary hearing.

As a running back at North Canton Hoover High School, Howard became only the second person to be twice named “Mr. Football” in the state.

He also received the Associated Press Award in 2008 and 2009.

Howard’s sentencing was scheduled for Tuesday at 1 p.m.

He could receive a maximum sentence of 41 years in prison.