Black's version of events differs. He says that Capriati was smoking pot, drinking beer and popping antianxiety pills known as Roches—a reference to the pharmaceutical company that makes them. "Say it takes you eight beers to get drunk," he says. "With Roches it takes three beers." But Black says emphatically, "Jennifer did not smoke crack, and she did not smoke heroin. I was pretty much with her the entire time. What I saw was an 18-year-old girl living a normal life, getting drunk with a lot of people, celebrating a birthday party. That's all."
Black says Wilson and Wineland are lying about the extent of Capriati's drug use to pump up the price of their made-for-the-tabloids stories. Wilson says Black is protecting Capriati because he has a crush on her. Wineland says of Capriati, "I think drugs are her main priority."
At some point in the evening, Black says, Capriati gave Wineland the keys to her Miata and her bank card so he could buy beer and cigarettes. When Wineland returned, Black says, "you could tell he'd smoked crack. His lips were all black. He said, 'I need more money,' and he went right al Jennifer, saying, 'I'll let you try it.' He was tempting her. But she turned it down because of me."
Eventually the party broke up, and Black and Capriati were alone in the room. At around 10 a.m., Branagan, Wilson and Wineland returned to the motel, woke Capriati and Black and asked to borrow Capriati's car again. Wineland and Wilson say she gave them the keys and sent them out for drugs—one of many drug runs, Wilson says, that Capriati financed with her bank card that weekend. Meanwhile, Branagan's mother, Carmen, had called the Coral Gables police to report that her daughter had sneaked out of the house and was at the Gables Inn.
When police arrived at room 109, Black and Capriati were still there. The police searched Capriati's belongings and found a plastic bag of marijuana in her backpack. Black says, "She started crying. She said, 'I don't want this attention. Let me call my lawyer.' "
When Branagan, Wilson and Wineland returned in Capriati's car, the police were waiting. According to the police, Wineland got out of the car, holding a crack pipe, which he tried to shove into his pants. Later, at the police station, according to officers, Branagan was found to be hiding heroin in her pants.
Capriati's name, once trumpeted by Diadora, Oil of Olay and other sponsors, is now worth dirt. Prince rackets, which gave Jennifer Capriati certificates to high school students with good grades in something called the Honor Roll program, ended its relationship with her after her arrest. On May 18 Capriati entered drug rehab at Mount Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach and, for the moment at least, had accomplished one dubious aim. Referring to Capriati's conduct in room 109, Wilson says, "She was trying to be like everybody else." But she tried too hard.
Now Jennifer Capriati is more famous than ever.