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MISSOULA - A 27-year-old Texas man was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison with five years suspended for his role in a violent, drug-related robbery that involved several University of Montana football players.

Ronald Powell Jr., who for months was known to Missoula authorities only by the nickname "Dirty," pleaded guilty in September to felony counts of aggravated burglary and conspiracy to commit robbery. As part of a plea bargain, prosecutors dismissed two counts of aggravated kidnapping.

Powell was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, on a Missoula County warrant for participating in the Nov. 5, 2007, home invasion in which a man was pistol-whipped and a woman was bound with duct tape.

According to court documents, Powell burst into the house along with four other men and demanded drugs and money. Another defendant identified Powell as the suspect who did the pistol-whipping.

Powell is among eight defendants who have been convicted in the case - including Greg Coleman, Jeramy Pate, Mike Shelton and Qwenton Freeman - all former Grizzly football players.

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