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Monday, January 6, 2003
Heath was DB on Pitt's 1976 championship team
Associated Press

CHARLEROI, Pa. -- Former University of Pittsburgh football player Jo Jo Heath was found stabbed to death Dec. 30 near a wooded side street about 20 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

Heath, 45, starred for the Panthers as a four-year letterman from 1976-79. He was a defensive back on Pitt's 1976 national championship team and captained the 1979 squad that went 11-1 and beat Arizona 16-10 in the Fiesta Bowl.

Heath was a sixth-round draft choice of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1980 and played one year there before joining the Philadelphia Eagles in 1981. He also played in the Canadian Football League and returned to the NFL briefly with the New York Jets as a strike replacement player in 1987.

Jason Allen Benner, 29, of Charleroi was arraigned late Dec. 30 on criminal homicide and other charges after being arrested on an unrelated warrant. Police said the killing appeared to be drug-related. Washington County Coroner Tim Warco ruled Heath's death a homicide, caused by multiple stab wounds to the torso.

Heath had a record of drug and robbery charges since his football career ended. In 1990, he was arrested on weapons and drug charges for allegedly selling $300 worth of cocaine to an undercover police officer. Heath later pleaded guilty to that charge and to two holdups in 1991.

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