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Charges against former CMU football player dropped

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -- A judge dismissed second-degree
murder and other charges against former Central Michigan football
player Spencer Lewis in the beating death of a man outside a bar.

Isabella County Trial Judge William T. Ervin dismissed the
charges Friday at the request of prosecutors, who said they would
be unable to proceed after Ervin blocked a key piece of evidence
from being presented at Lewis' trial, scheduled for April 19.

The judge ruled Tuesday that an incriminating statement Lewis
made before a polygraph test wouldn't be admitted as evidence.

Lewis, 23, was released Friday from the Isabella County Jail,
where he has been since September. He was charged with
second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, assault with intent
to do great bodily harm and perjury in the June 25, 2004, beating
of Demarcus Graham. Graham died 19 days later.

An NCAA spokeswoman said Central Michigan would have to start
the process of reinstating Lewis. The university issued a statement
Friday saying it would be premature to comment on the case until
the judicial process is completed for all the students involved.

Former Chippewas player Jerry Seymour, 21, is still scheduled
for trial April 19, and ex-player James King, 23, is scheduled for
trial May 8. They face the same charges that Lewis faced.

Earlier this week, Ervin sentenced Jimmy Donald, 23, to two to
15 years in prison in Graham's death.

Former Chippewas player Michael L. Thomas, 24, was sentenced
earlier this month to 40 months to 15 years in prison, and
ex-player Demond J. Petty, 21, was sentenced to four to 15 years.

Former player James Cooper Jr., 24, pleaded guilty Feb. 22 to
perjury and obstruction of justice. His sentencing is scheduled for
June 9.