Felony charge against NC State’s Markell Johnson are dismissed

The freshman guard been on suspension since Dec. 16, when it was learned that he had been indicted in connection with an incident in his hometown of Cleveland

NC State coach Kevin Keatts talks to guard Markell Johnson during a game against Penn State earlier this season (Rob Kinnan/USA TODAY Sports)

RALEIGH — A felony assault charge against Markell Johnson has been dismissed, clearing the way for the sophomore guard to return to the NC State basketball team.

Johnson has been on indefinite suspension since Dec. 16, when it was learned that he and three others had been indicted in connection with an incident in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, on Oct. 8.

According to the Cuyahoga County Clerk of Courts website, a motion was filed on Thursday by Ohio state attorney James Sean Gallagher to dismiss the indictment against Johnson and co-defendants Michael Melton Jr., Johnnie Pullum and Demarious Green.


A paralegal for Johnson’s lawyer, John T. Paris, confirmed that the charge had been dropped and that Johnson is scheduled to return to North Carolina sometime today.

The dismissal of Johnson’s charges marked the second bit of good news in the last 24 hours for coach Kevin Keatts’ program.

On Wednesday, it was announced that four-star guard Blake Harris has been admitted to the university and will immediately become a member of State’s team. A Chapel Hill native, Harris started the season at Missouri, playing in 14 games before deciding to transfer. He will not become eligible until the second semester of next season.

Johnson won’t have to wait that long.

A statement released by athletic department spokesman Fred Demarest indicated that Johnson has been cleared to rejoin the team. Although he is eligible to play for the Wolfpack in tonight’s home game against No. 19 Clemson, it is unlikely he will get back from Ohio in time to participate.

Johnson is averaging 8.7 points and 6.6 assists this season. State is 3-3 in his absence.

According to a court document, Johnson, Melton, Pullum and Green were involved in a physical altercation with 37-year-old Michael Blackwell, who told police that he has suffered a broken orbital bone, multiple cuts and a concussion.

The incident was reported on Nov. 21 and an indictment was handed down two weeks later. Johnson was notified of the charge by mail and turned himself in on Dec. 20. He was released that same day on a $5,000 cash bond.

A 6-foot-1 point guard, Johnson started the first 10 games for the Wolfpack this season — scoring a career-high 17 points in his final game before being suspended, on Dec. 9 against Missouri-Kansas City. Despite missing six games, Johnson still leads NC State in assists with 66.