Ex-prep star denied youthful offender status

A former Central High School football standout already in jail on one robbery charge was denied Tuesday a special legal status for youth that would have kept a potential future robbery conviction record off the books.

Cordero Smith, 19, had asked Russell County Circuit Court Judge George Greene to grant him youthful offender status for a case in which authorities accuse him of robbing Tyler's Groceries, 3731 Opelika Road, in March 2007. If Greene had approved the request, and Smith was later found guilty of third-degree robbery, the conviction wouldn't appear as such on his record, said Assistant District Attorney David Johnson.

"I would like to start out saying I'm sorry," Smith said. "When I was out, hanging around the wrong crowd. I'm ready to go to school and start over."

Instead, Greene denied the request. Smith remains in the Russell County Jail where he's serving a one-year sentence, followed by 14 years probation, for the July 2006 first-degree robbery of the Summerville Road Sonic Drive-In.

See Wednesday's Ledger-Enquirer for more on this story.