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Old 09-01-2011, 12:53 PM   #9257
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--Former NFL player arrested for several home invasion robberies and sexual assault

The man accused of three recent home- invasion robberies and one sexual assault in Natomas showed athletic promise in his years at Sacramento City College and then went on to play in the NFL.

On Monday, Sacramento police arrested Keith Jerome Wright, 31, a former defensive tackle who was a sixth-round draft pick by the Houston Texans in 2003.

Most recently, police say, Wright was living in Natomas, where detectives allege a recent string of attacks has been linked to him.

Wright is scheduled to be arraigned today on one felony charge each of robbery, kidnapping, forced oral copulation and burglary, and a misdemeanor charge of sexual battery, according to Sacramento County Main Jail booking records.

Police spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong said those charges stem from an Aug. 21 attack on Kokomo Drive.

Though no charges have been filed in connection with the two earlier home invasions, Leong said detectives suspect Wright is the man responsible.

On Wednesday, Wright declined an interview with The Bee from the jail, where he is being held without bail.

In the first crime, a man confronted a male victim in the driveway of his Yarwood Way home at 12:30 a.m. on July 21, Leong said. The man forced the victim inside at gunpoint and ransacked the house for valuables.

Then, on Aug. 8 at 1:30 a.m., a man confronted a male victim watching TV inside his Sandcastle Way garage, Leong said. The man forced the victim inside the home at gunpoint and stole items.

The man then forced the victim and another person inside the home into the trunk of a car before fleeing, Leong said.

Both crimes lasted from one to two hours, according to police. None of the victims was injured.

But in the third attack, a man entered a home on Kokomo Drive through an unlocked door and then sexually assaulted and robbed the victim, Leong said.

Early in the investigation, police believed the three incidents were linked based on similarities, Leong said. Following up on property stolen from the residences, police settled on Wright as a possible suspect, Leong said.

With a possible suspect identified, the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office expedited the analysis of DNA evidence from the Kokomo Drive scene. A national database linked the fresh DNA to that of Wright, whose DNA was in the system because of a prior felony arrest, Leong said.

No information was available regarding Wright's prior arrest.

He has no criminal case history in Sacramento County, according to Superior Court records.

Leong said police suspect that Wright chose his victim's residences at random and that he did not know the victims personally. He also said that Wright is the sole suspect in the crimes.

Though his professional football career never appeared to gain traction – he bounced from Texas to Indiana to Florida to Michigan – his early years indicated great potential in the sport.

Born in Santa Clara, Wright went to high school at Arizona Boys Ranch, a camp for troubled youth, where he was a "big-time high school prospect," according to the official athletic site of the University of Missouri, his alma mater.

After high school, he played at Sacramento City College and was named a Junior College All-American, Missouri's website states.

In 2001, as a senior at the university, Wright was considered Missouri's "most valuable defensive lineman," according to the website. Later, he was one of 122 collegiate players named to the 2002 Rotary Lombardi Awards watch list.

The athletic site also states that Wright's academic interest was criminal justice.

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