Judge plans to remove pictures from court

Updated: November 19, 2003, 12:31 PM ET
Associated Press

WACO, Texas -- A Central Texas judge who will hear the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the father of a slain Baylor basketball player against the university says he plans to remove some pictures from his courtroom before the trial begins.

State District Judge Ralph Strother, a Baylor law graduate, said Tuesday he would probably take down courtroom photos of Old Main and Pat Neff Hall, two prominent university buildings.

Earlier this month, attorneys for Baylor were granted their request to move the case from Houston to Waco, the university's home. A trial date on the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, has not been set.

Strother declined to comment Tuesday on the lawsuit that also names former basketball coach Dave Bliss, school president Robert Sloan, former athletic director Tom Stanton and others.

Patrick Dennehy, 21, was missing about six weeks before his body was found July 25 near a gravel pit southeast of Waco. An autopsy determined he had been shot twice in the head.

His friend and former teammate, Carlton Dotson, 21, has pleaded innocent. He remains jailed in Waco without bond after his arrest and extradition from his home state of Maryland.

Dennehy played two seasons for the New Mexico Lobos before transferring to Baylor in the spring of 2002.

Richard Laminack, a lawyer for Patrick Dennehy Sr., has contended that the athlete was killed by someone other than Dotson but has not elaborated.

Dennehy's father, in the lawsuit, says his son became the target of "violent threats" after saying he might expose wrongdoing in the Baylor men's basketball program and that Baylor ignored his requests for help. The suit says the younger Dennehy was lured to his death" by another player but does not identify the player.

Baylor officials have acknowledged that illegal tuition payments were made to Dennehy and another player in violation of NCAA rules.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press