Former Star Athlete Back in Jail

FB post in early January from Benny Valentine's page in response to the Omaha Police Union's criticism of his sentence of probation:
"Everything that has been said on here are your personal opinions...am I to judge you about the way you feel? No that's not my place...I have made mistakes nobody is perfect...it was 7yrs between the time I have made those mistakes in the eye of the law...I had to do something right in order to graduate college and play profession ball overseas...as soon as somebody makes a mistake everybody instantly becomes judges...idk wat the future holds I hope for the best...bt no matter what I do good or bad I will be labeled as a troublesome black male or whatever words u choose to use...bt I've been judged already all I can do is except responsibility and move forward to make a better tomorrow"

An former Omaha star athlete is back in jail. BJ Valentine is accused of violating his probation when he flew to Texas and stopped at a home where a homicide occurred.

The public may know him as Benny Valentine -- a Division one basketball prospect who played for Central and Prep high schools in the mid-2000's and went to play for legendary coach Bob Knight.

BJ Valentine is 25 now.

Some investigators remember him more for his off-the-court dealings with the law.

The most recent example is from last November inside a Douglas County courtroom when Benny Valentine was looking at two years in prison for drugs. A gun charge had been dropped.

But an old coach and current probation officer suggested he get another chance. So instead of jail time -- he got probation.

Was Benny Valentine grateful for his shot at redemption?

Consider this, three days after getting probation last fall, he's on a plane from Omaha to Dallas, Texas, and the suburb of Plano.

Remember some of the common terms of probation -- you're supposed to remain in the state and avoid hanging around trouble-makers.

During the trip to Texas, it gets worse.

According to court documents obtained by Channel Six Fact Finders, Valentine called his probation officer four months after the flight to explain the trip -- saying his "intention was to do a home invasion -- to rob a known drug dealer."

And while he's there -- someone gets killed.

The guy who was shot and killed in Texas is Chinedu Onyeuku, 29, of Omaha.

Investigators believe he went to the home with Valentine.

Plano police reports indicate the Texas homeowner shot Onyeuku as he smashed through the glass patio doors at 3 a.m.

The other suspect -- believed to be Valentine by his admission to his probation officer -- got away on foot.

The Omaha police union doesn't understand why Valentine got probation last fall -- which allowed him to be available for the Texas trip. "That's troubling," said Union president John Wells. "At some point -- if people are going to step up and vouch for someone -- are they accepting the liability of that as well? When you hear everyone say we have to address violent crime, hold people accountable for the crimes they commit. How about we try that out."

Months ago after the courts gave Valentine probation, the Police union wrote on its Facebook page a guarantee that he would get into trouble again.

And who commented on the union's Facebook post?

None other than BJ Valentine. He questioned why people were so quick to judge him. He presumably wrote those words after he had already returned from Texas. (In the sidebar column above, we've posted what was written from Benny Valentine's Facebook account to the Omaha Police Officer's Association)

Valentine declined our interview request. He's currently in the Douglas County Jail for the probation violation. He was arrested April 12. Bond is set at $75,000.

The Plano police department says the homicide of Onyeuku is still an on-going investigation.

In the initial press release from Plano PD dated November 28, 2012 -- and 9-days after Valentine arrived in Texas -- the department asked for the public's help in information related to the shooting death and descriptions of the one who got away.

It is unclear if Texas investigators know about the early-April admission from Benny Valentine to his probation officer that he was there that morning of the shooting.


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