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Judge dismisses final count in suit

2/25/2004 - Baylor Bears

WACO, Texas -- A judge on Wednesday dismissed the final
count in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed against Baylor University
by the father of a basketball player who was gunned down last
summer.

Patrick Dennehy Sr. sought unspecified damages in his suit,
which claimed his son became the target of "violent threats"
because he intended to expose wrongdoing in the basketball program
and that Baylor ignored his requests for help.

Lawyers for most defendants -- including Baylor's president
Robert Sloan, former athletic director Tom Stanton and former
basketball coach Dave Bliss -- filed motions last month to have the
case thrown out.

State District Judge Ralph Strother dismissed the other six
counts, including allegations of wrongful death and gross
negligence, at a Feb. 6 hearing. Ralph said Baylor could not have
foreseen the slaying of Patrick Dennehy Jr., whose body was found
in July in a field a few miles from the Waco campus.

Dennehy played two seasons at the University of New Mexico and
transferred to Baylor in the spring of 2002.

At the hearing last month, Strother said he would give the
plaintiff's attorneys two weeks to provide more evidence on the
seventh claim, which accused Baylor and the other defendants of
"intentionally, knowingly or recklessly" causing Dennehy's death.

But plaintiff's attorneys did not file additional papers before
Friday's deadline, court officials said.

Former Baylor basketball player Carlton Dotson has been charged
in his 21-year-old friend's death and remains jailed in Waco
awaiting a murder trial.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Baylor officials said the
courts ruling "followed well-established law that a university has
no legal duty to prevent one of its students from committing a
criminal act while off the premises at an event not sponsored by
the university."

After Dennehy disappeared, allegations of NCAA violations
surfaced at Baylor, the world's largest Baptist university. Bliss
and Stanton resigned in August amid revelations that improper
tuition payments were made to the younger Dennehy and another
player.

Patrick Dennehy Sr., who lives in Tacoma, Wash., had not seen
his son since he was 2 but tried to rekindle the relationship
several years ago, according to the suit.