Pompoms to handcuffs too common
Thursday brought us the shocking news of a former Dallas Mavericks dancer suspected in a violent rampage in the city on Wednesday in which four people were killed and four more were wounded.
While the crimes and allegations are certainly shocking, another shocking aspect of the story is just how often we see stories of professional cheerleaders involved in or accused of criminal activity.
What seems like a profession brimming with happiness has quite a dark underside to it. Here's a look at some of the recent legal troubles to befall cheerleaders, and some of the more jaw-dropping stories from years past.
• Arizona Cardinals cheerleader Megan Welter made headlines late in July when the story came out that she was also an Iraq war veteran. Just a few days later, news broke that the 29-year-old Welter was arrested on July 20 and charged with aggravated assault, destroying property and disorderly conduct after allegedly attacking her boyfriend.
• In March, 42-year-old Elizabeth Leigh Garner was arrested after police claimed she inappropriately touched a 12-year-old Tennessee boy. Garner was a Titans cheerleader in 2008, drawing headlines at the time for making the squad at age 38.
• Perhaps no cheerleader's fall from grace has been more publicized than Sarah Jones. The former Bengals cheerleader in 2012 pleaded guilty to having sex with a minor, a student while she was teaching at a Kentucky high school. Then earlier this year, Jones, now 28, announced she is engaged to the former student, Cody York, who is now of legal age. And in July, a jury awarded Jones $338,000 in a defamation case against a website which posted salacious claims against Jones.
• And perhaps no pair of cheerleaders was more notorious than Angela Ellen Keathley and Renee Thomas. In 2005, while members of the Top Cats, the Carolina Panthers cheerleading squad, the two were arrested after an incident at a Tampa, Fla., nightclub. According to police, the two were having sex with one another in a bathroom stall at Banana Joe's, and after patrons became upset that the two were taking so long, the women got into an altercation with some of them. Thomas allegedly hit a person in the face and was charged with battery. Keathley was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing or opposing an officer. Both ultimately agreed to plea deals to avoid jail time, though they were kicked off the Top Cats.