Ex-Cal Poly football player pleads in frat robbery case

April 23, 2015

Cortland FortOne of the five former Cal Poly football players accused of attempting to rob a fraternity house last year has accepted a plea deal that will keep him out of jail. [Tribune]

Cortland Josiah Fort, whom prosecutors accused of being the getaway driver, pleaded guilty to a single felony of conspiracy to commit grand theft. The plea agreement calls for him to serve three years of formal probation and complete 1,000 hours of community service.

Fort, 21, faced 11 felonies for his alleged participation in the August 2014 incident during which another member of the football team allegedly carried a gun onto the property and engaged in a physical struggle with both fraternity members and police. Officers arrested Fort after they found him driving away from the fraternity house in a rental car with his lights off and the cell phones of other Cal Poly players in the vehicle.

Prior to the plea deal, Fort’s attorney, Chris Casciola maintained that his client was completely innocent. Casciola told CalCoastNews last year that Fort had just arrived in town two weeks prior to the attempted robbery, and at the time, he did not know any of the co-defendants by name.

Fort was the only sober person at a party on the night of the incident, and he was asked to drive the others, Casciola said.

After reaching the plea deal with prosecutors, Casciola said Fort has a bright future. The defense attorney also said that his client is a good student with no previous criminal history, and he deserves a chance to play football again.

Deputy District Attorney Eric Dobroth said Fort’s degree of involvement in the crime did not warrant significant jail time. Dobroth also said that community service would allow Fort to continue his academic and athletic careers.

After his arrest, Fort moved to Riverside County and played a season as a defensive back for Riverside City College. Fort is originally from Fontana.

The remaining four defendants in the case still face several felony charges.

Cameron Akins, 20, is the man accused of brandishing the gun at the fraternity house. Akins allegedly had an unloaded .38-caliber derringer-style pistol and pointed it at fraternity members while demanding cash and marijuana.

A month after the incident, police arrested Gear McMillan, the former president of the fraternity, for selling marijuana. Earlier this year, McMillan, 22, pleaded no contest to possession of marijuana for sale.

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A good student with no previous criminal history. Wow if this is true, a black man in America can make it to age 21 without a felony.

Well, it all depends on whether he’s will willing to become a unified $hitter.

Crime and punishment does seem to be a tricky topic. On one hand, it’s necessary to deincentivize the perp and others from committing future crimes. On the other hand, if punishment is so severe that it limits a perp’s future options, we find that it becomes increasingly probable that they will commit more crime in the future. With this case, you have a perp who was involved in a very serious crime who was likely aware beforehand that violence could result. However, he is (was – I think he changed schools) enrolled at a very good school that will no doubt provide him with significant opportunity to better himself and his community should he decide to overcome apparent bouts of stupidity. Sometimes people learn from their mistakes, sometimes they don’t. For now what’s done is done with regard to the decision of the court, so I’ll chose to maintain an optimistic outlook about this individual. Hopefully he appreciates the pass he’s been given and pays a lot more attention to fully thinking things through in the future.

Well said! I agree.

Now that many of the facts of this incident have come out, I think this is appropriate. He didn’t do a crime in my opinion. One person attempted to rob the fraternity of cash and/or drugs that were being sold by the fraternity according to this statement reported in this publication: “In a press release issued by the police department Thursday afternoon, Captain Keith Storton stated that investigators have determined narcotics were being stored, distributed and sold from specific rooms in the fraternity house both before and after the robbery took place.

Officers have not arrested any other members of the fraternity, though.”

Why should a sober, designated driver who arrived in town two weeks before this party, have to plead guilty for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, while the fraternity members seem to have escaped punishment since the police decided to wait a month to search the premises? The one person who still had marijuana and prescription drugs in his possession was allowed to plead to “felony possession of marijuana for sale.” maximum 1 year in jail and was supposed to be sentenced on 4/17. People supported this kid, yet jump all over what appears to be a very good kid, caught in a huge case of police over reaction who refuse to admit it.

I agree with you Cathy, He will have this on his record for a long time. Hopefully he will make better choices in the future.

Designated drivers don’t take off and drive with the headlights out. He knew what was up and made a dumb choice to engage in a criminal conspiracy. People could easily have died. The police had no basis to search the fraternity house because the suspects didn’t say anything that would have provided justifiable cause for the court to issue a warrant.

No comment.

Another felony conspirator getting a slap on the wrist. Poor baby football player, wah, let’s all cry for him. After all, he was only part of a felony robbery conspiracy, driving dangerously without lights, chauffeuring the gunman to the drug/robbery job.

Show him and others he can get away with it, slap on the wrist, while the lazy DA office chalks up a plea bargain in their “win” column. What do we want to bet that the criminal justice system hears from this participant again?

If he makes it to the NFL (National Felon League), he will

fit right in.

It is by no means a sure bet but I would guess the odds are 50-50 that he will stay clean and that those are better odds than he would have had if they threw the book at him. I am willing to take that chance rather than pay my fair share of his room, board and supervision for the next few years in a state pen.

I was young and dumb once too. Not dumb enough to do what he did but close. I find it plausible that he got sucked into this by peer pressure from new teammates and friends. It may be BS but it may also be fairly close to the truth. We don’t know enough to tell. I will trust the DA’s judgment on this one.

Do the crime do the time!