Bias was snorting large quantities. The others in the room warned him to be careful, but the 6'8" Bias continued. As dawn neared, Bias suddenly went into a seizure. He lost consciousness, then regained it. He suffered a second seizure and a third. After the third seizure, Bias did not regain consciousness. Long tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but to no avail. At 6:32 a.m., Tribble dialed 911 for paramedics and an ambulance. Bias could not be saved. He was pronounced dead at 8:50 a.m. at nearby Leland Memorial Hospital. Sometime after 6:32 a.m. and before the ambulance arrived, Long and Gregg began clearing the room of evidence, according to their reported grand jury testimony, and Tribble slipped the remaining cocaine into his pocket.
Law enforcement officials have provided other details of the case. Police have said they later found a clear, palm-sized bag of cocaine under the dashboard of Bias's car and assorted drug paraphernalia in a dumpster behind the dorm. These included cut straws, one of which contained cocaine residue. Police said they had a harder time finding anyone willing to talk. Driesell, Fentress and Bias's and Gregg's high school coach, Bob Wagner, all came under suspicion by law enforcement authorities for possibly advising players not to cooperate. All three eventually were cleared by the grand jury.
Prince George's County state's attorney Arthur Marshall Jr. was on vacation the day Bias died, but came into the case when he returned to work. "The only reason we got involved," he says, "was because the police came in and told us, 'We can't get any information. Nobody'll talk to us.' Here the kids are all lying, the firemen are telling us different things about evidence being moved while they're doing resuscitation on a youngster on the floor. Everybody is denying drugs being involved. It just didn't seem normal to me."
So ended any possibility that the Bias case might quietly fade away. Marshall came in with elbows high, on the attack. From day one he talked freely to reporters and fired off charges with what some of his professional peers felt was recklessness. He became the most vocal critic of the university's athletic department and of Driesell.
Marshall, 55, is a stern-looking man with a fast, businesslike way of speaking. He once had a bumper sticker over his door that read: THE RAT RACE IS OVER, THE RATS WON. He is intense and opinionated.
The Bias case intrigued him. He had earned his law degree at Georgetown and put one son through Maryland. His other son, whom he says he hasn't seen in some time, has a history of drug problems and was once convicted on a breaking-and-entering charge. Marshall could not let the Bias case pass unnoticed.
And so he spoke out. He chastised Driesell for blocking the investigation, questioned the fact that Fentress had served as agent for both Lefty and Bias, said he had information that nearly half of Maryland's men's basketball team had used drugs "as a consistent matter." If that weren't enough, a grand jury witness suggested a Maryland player might have tried to shave points on at least one occasion—a possibility Marshall later discounted.
His open manner and doggedness seemed refreshing, but soon Marshall became controversial. James and Lonise Bias complained that a "proliferation of innuendo" and "constant leaking" of unsubstantiated information from the prosecutor's office was maligning the reputation of their son. Tribble's lawyer, Thomas Morrow, said that the prosecutor had "blown this thing up like the Bruno Hauptmann case," and rival politicians called Marshall's probe a fishing expedition designed to help him win renomination for his seventh straight term in office. In September, Marshall lost the Democratic primary by 2,000 votes.
Early on, Marshall had raised the possibility that Driesell, Fentress and Wagner might be indicted for obstruction of justice. "I certainly was not looking for an indictment," he insists now. But it is a fact that Driesell asked assistant coach Oliver Purnell to clean up Bias's dorm room on the morning of June 19.
Driesell, who agreed to talk to SI after his resignation, says he got a call from Fentress in his office that morning. "Put yourself in my position," Driesell says. "He is Leonard Bias's attorney, and he had just negotiated my contract with the university before that, so he's my attorney, too." Driesell says he told Fentress that Bias had died and that "I had heard at the hospital that he might have been fooling with some cocaine." Driesell claims Fentress "was hysterical" at hearing this.