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'It's the ultimate backstab'

Accused drug dealers had chances but threw them away.

Neil Scott covers his face as he is led into a Montgomery County court yesterday. He has been in custody since February on other charges. (Clem Murray/Staff)
Neil Scott covers his face as he is led into a Montgomery County court yesterday. He has been in custody since February on other charges. (Clem Murray/Staff)Read more

WHEN NEIL SCOTT moved to California in 2010 he did so, in part, to escape the drug scene in Philadelphia, according to his old boss.

But a relationship that Scott, now 25, had with a much older woman out west may have been his downfall.

Timothy Brooks, 18, knew of Scott because the two had attended the Haverford School, where both played lacrosse. But it wasn't until an injury sent Brooks home last year after just a semester at college that the two became acquainted, according to Brooks' lawyer.

Now the pair - who allegedly bought books about street-smart drug dealers to learn the business - are getting a real-life lesson in the criminal-justice system.

Along with the drugs and guns that cops said they confiscated from the two men, authorities also confiscated three books about drug dealing - American Desperado, Cornbread Mafia and Doctor Dealer (former Inquirer reporter Mark Bowden's look at a Main Line dentist's cocaine-dealing empire). Those are a far cry from the books Scott once listed as his favorites - The Great Gatsby and The Art of War.

After graduating in 2008 from the Haverford School, where he was a goalie on the boys' lacrosse team, Scott went on to Connecticut College. But he stayed only three semesters before dropping out because he was caught smoking pot and making fake IDs, according to prosecutors.

Zack Burke, a lacrosse coach in California, said that after that, one of Scott's Haverford coaches found him a job with Michael Watson, a lacrosse player who ran LAX West Lacrosse in California. When that folded, Burke hired Scott in February 2013 to work for his program.

"He told me there was nothing good at home," Burke said. "Nothing but drugs and trouble, and he wanted to get away from it out here."

But about two months into Scott's employment, Burke began to notice a change in his attitude. He said he fired Scott after he cursed at a 10-year-old child.

"He started losing grip with reality a bit," Burke said.

Around that time, Scott began to date a 40-year-old dermatologist who would give him Xanax and other pills, Burke said.

"I feel like she made him crazy," he said. "I heard he packed up his car and went back to Philly in September."

Burke said the coaches at Haverford, Michael Watson and others went out of their way to help Scott.

"It's the ultimate backstab," he said. "We couldn't have done more for this kid, and it was thrown back in our face."

Scott and Brooks' ex-coach, John Nostrant, said many Haverford School alumni go on to become great fathers and husbands and give back to the prep school in the form of money or time.

Scott and Brooks allegedly gave back drugs.

"You get the opportunity to mentor these kids, but it's not always going to be successful," Nostrant said. "Over the course of time, these things are going to happen. That can't take away from all the positive things our guys have done."

Brooks' lawyer Greg Pagano said his client did not play as big a role in the operation as Scott.

"He's a nice, young man and comes from a very nice family and he's sorry for what he did and he's ready to accept responsibility," Pagano said. "As far as what's been depicted on the news and what was laid out there at the press conference, the bulk of that stuff should not be attributed to him personally."

Brooks, a 2013 Haverford School grad, was the first player to commit to attend the University of Richmond in its inaugural Division I men's lacrosse program.

At the time of his signing, Richmond coach Dan Chemotti said:

"Timmy epitomizes the characteristics that we aim to be identified with as a program. His toughness, work ethic, and competitive nature are what make him such a talented player and his character and humility are what make him an even better person."

After just one semester, Brooks suffered a sports-related injury that forced him to come back to Philly for surgery, Pagano said.

"He was in a very bad frame of mind at the time, and at some point he meets up with Neil Scott," Pagano said.