Charges against former CMU football player dropped

Updated: April 14, 2006, 8:07 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press