Man accused of USC murder says he's innocent

Updated: May 20, 2006, 11:05 AM ET
Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. -- A man accused of first-degree murder in the shooting death of University of Southern California basketball player Ryan Francis says police have arrested the wrong man, his defense attorney says.

DeAnthony Ford, 19, is being held without bond in the May 13 shooting of Francis, a USC point guard who played his high school basketball in Baton Rouge. The shooting occurred at an intersection about 3 a.m.

Ford's attorney, Dele Adebamiji, said Friday that he talked to his client and that Ford claimed his innocence.

"He said they got the wrong guy and he's ready to prove they got the wrong guy," Adebamiji said. "He said he wasn't at the scene at all when all of this happened."

In an affidavit, police contend that two of the three people riding in the car with Francis viewed a police lineup and identified Ford as the man who fired the fatal shots. Francis was riding in the back seat of the car when he was killed.

Police said Ford was driving an SUV and pulled in front of the car carrying Francis after recognizing the car's driver as someone he had been involved in a dispute with earlier that night.

Adebamiji said he had questions about the identifications since he would expect people to be ducking behind car seats or the dashboard in an attempt to shield themselves from the bullets. He also said one of the people inside the car did not identify Ford as the gunman.

According to the police affidavit, police stopped Ford's vehicle after getting a description of it and found a large-caliber weapon inside.

The case has yet to be presented to a grand jury.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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