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At every inquest or hearing in Allen Iverson’s latest assault case, the accused could be sure fans would gather wearing his licensed gear and some facsimile of his hairdo. But there were no Kevin Millen jerseys or Kevin Millen signature sneakers or imitation Kevin Millen coifs outside the D.C. Superior Courthouse last week, when Iverson’s former Georgetown University teammate was tried on a variety of charges relating to his latest scrape at the school. There was no pro-Millen faction at all.
Millen’s own family didn’t even show up.
After three days of testimony, Millen was convicted of one felony count of assaulting a police officer and one misdemeanor count of unlawful entry. He was acquitted of aggravated assault. When sentencing takes place, on Sept. 20, he’ll face nearly six years in jail.
Millen’s rap sheet, like Iverson’s, shows he needs to be saved from himself. Yet Iverson’s travails, serious as they may be, have a cartoonish and showbizzy component, and they have incited primarily embarrassment for the Georgetown faithful. Millen’s deeds, meanwhile, have left folks at the school with a different vibe.
“At Georgetown, they’re afraid of Kevin,” says Janai Reed, the court-appointed attorney who represented Millen in his most recent case. “I’m not saying they should be, but they are.”
For the past several years, Millen, now 29, has been in and out of D.C. jail cells due to what even an amateur psychologist could diagnose as a self-destructive obsession with Georgetown and the people at the university who somehow let him down.
Millen averaged more than 20 points a game in his junior year at Raleigh-Egypt High School in Memphis, Tenn., enough to earn a scholarship offer from the Hoyas, then a national powerhouse, and also to inspire dreams of NBA glories. But Millen never did much under coach John Thompson. He averaged only 2.3 points a game over his four-year career, from 1991 to 1995. His best outing came as a freshman, when he notched 14 points against something called Hawaii-Loa, one of the early-season patsies that Thompson used to front-load the schedule with.
The only memorable shot Millen took as a Hoya was a miss: His jumper in the final seconds of the championship game of the 1993 National Invitational Tournament rimmed out, giving Minnesota a 62-61 victory over Georgetown.
Though things didn’t go well on the hardwood, Millen did earn a degree in finance at Georgetown, in 1995. But rather than capitalizing on that prized sheepskin, he went home to Memphis and, for reasons nobody can explain, spent a couple of years stewing about what had gone wrong during his college days.
“He wasn’t the same Kevin Millen I knew, I can tell you that,” says Jeff Walker, his high school coach. “He was angry, just mad at the world. He looked the same as the nice, fun-loving, absolutely trustworthy kid I remembered, but he sure wasn’t the same.”
According to his former attorney, Celicia Hoover-Hankerson, Millen had telephone conversations with Thompson from Memphis about possibly getting an administrative position with either the Washington Bullets or the Georgetown athletic department. When neither job came through, says Hoover-Hankerson, “that set something off.”
Millen left Memphis and came back to D.C. His first brush with the law came in 1998, when he was legally barred from the Georgetown campus for repeatedly making menacing phone calls and showing up at Thompson’s office unannounced. According to newspaper accounts at the time, Millen was telling everybody around him that Thompson had kept him from being a pro. He was also ordered by a D.C. Superior Court judge to go back to Memphis.
“He stayed there for two days, then came back here,” says Hoover-Hankerson.
Millen violated the stay-away order at least twice that year and was arrested. Hoover-Hankerson says she tried to get the courts to view Millen’s case more from a medical than a legal perspective, but that effort went nowhere.
“I fully realize that there was definitely a criminal element to Kevin’s conduct,” she says. “But I also think if this involved anybody else but John Thompson, there would have been intervention and more emphasis on treatment, and a serious mental health component to his sentencing and not an attitude of, ‘Let’s just make sure he doesn’t contact John Thompson!’”
In January 1999, Millen pleaded guilty to stalking Thompson. Superior Court Judge Anita Josey-Herring told the defendant, “You can’t frighten people,” after giving him a suspended six-month jail sentence plus two years of probation for the violations. She also ordered Millen not only to stay away from the campus and to refrain from phoning Thompson, but to leave D.C. and stay away.
“He couldn’t do it,” says Reed.
In the summer of 1999, Reed says, Millen was jailed for violating the conditions of his probation by coming back to town. It was the first of three incarcerations for probation violations relating to Millen’s visits to Georgetown, says the attorney. Millen was released from D.C. Jail most recently on Jan. 15, 2002. Reed says she has no idea where Millen slept or lived after gaining his freedom.
She does know, however, that in the early evening of Feb. 25, Millen was on the Georgetown campus once again. Reed says that because he’d served his time in jail, Millen thought the 1999 restraining order barring him from Georgetown was no longer in effect and that he went to the campus to get information about graduate school. A security guard recognized the 6-foot-7 Millen as somebody not permitted on campus, began tailing him on foot, and radioed for backup. When that backup arrived, one of the security guards made physical contact with Millen and a scuffle ensued. A passer-by jumped on the pile to help the guards subdue Millen. Officers with the Metropolitan Police Department, who recognized Millen and knew of his past, brought him not to jail but to St. Elizabeths Hospital.
Reed wanted the courts to declare her client incompetent to stand trial, thinking that would give him a better chance to get medical treatment.
“But the criminal-justice system isn’t set up for situations like this,” Reed says. “Here’s a smart guy, a guy with a finance degree from a great school, so of course he knows what a judge is and he’s aware of what role the judge will play during a trial and what role his defense counsel will play. That’s the only test of competency, really, so of course he was declared competent. That’s a shame, really, because there’s nobody involved in this case who doesn’t think Kevin needs help, but the system is set up to punish, not treat, in a way that prevents people like Kevin from getting that help.”
Millen has been staying at St. Elizabeths since his last arrest, and Reed will ask the court to let him serve out whatever sentence he gets at the facility. Reached at the hospital after the trial, Millen said he was disappointed by the verdict but declined to discuss his situation.
“Maybe this will be good for him,” says high school coach Walker. “Maybe he’ll get whatever help he needs now. I sure hope so. I want him back.” —Dave McKenna