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GIRARD Former wrestler pleads guilty



Published: Thu, August 2, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



'The Snake' will receive alcohol-abuse treatment in Texas.

By TIM YOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

GIRARD -- Former professional wrestler Jake "The Snake" Roberts pleaded guilty to three charges, including drunken driving.

Roberts, whose real name is Aurelian Smith of Gainesville, Texas, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Girard Municipal Court to driving under the influence of alcohol, leaving the scene of an accident and reckless driving on private property.

Judge Michael Bernard took sentencing under advisement. Smith was placed on a one-year probation, which is permitted by state law, while he undergoes alcohol-abuse treatment in a Texas facility.

If Smith successfully completes treatment, Judge Bernard will dismiss the charges. Smith will pay a $600 probationary fee.

Smith declined to answer reporters' questions after appearing in court.

"He admits to an error in judgment just like the president of the UnitedStates," said Smith's attorney, Robert Shaker, in a reference to President Bush's admission to drunken driving.

Shaker asserted he doesn't believe Smith is a substance abuser, but is "in danger" of becoming one.

Hit and run: The charges stem from June 14 when Smith and other former professional wrestlers were in the area to sign autographs at the Mahoning Valley Rib Burn Off at Cafaro Field in Niles.

Local resident Sherri Morgan told police Smith's Lincoln Continental ran into her Oldsmobile in a parking lot on North State Street.

Smith sped off in his car and was stopped by Girard and Niles police on Robbins Avenue in Niles.

He told police he couldn't perform a sobriety test because he had a hip injury. His blood-alcohol level was 0.179, nearly twice the legal limit.

Smith, who used snakes in his wrestling act, was a World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling fan favorite in the 1980s and 1990s.




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