Former Sun Devils running back Wade convicted of second-degree murder

Updated: June 7, 2007, 7:58 PM ET
Associated Press

PHOENIX -- Former Arizona State running back Loren Wade was convicted Thursday of second-degree murder in the slaying of another ex-Sun Devils football player.

Wade, 23, was on trial for first-degree murder in the death of Brandon Falkner, who was shot outside a Scottsdale nightclub on March 26, 2005.

Prosecutors claimed Falkner, 25, was shot because Wade saw him talking to his girlfriend.

Wade now faces a maximum of 22 years in prison when he's sentenced although no sentencing date was immediately announced Thursday.

During the more than four-week trial, Deputy Maricopa County Attorney Juan Martinez told jurors that Falkner's death was premeditated murder -- saying Wade first pistol-whipped Falkner, then cocked the gun and fired while Falkner sat in the driver's seat of his car.

Defense attorney Ulises Ferragut said Wade only intended to punch Falkner with the gun in his hand and it went off unintentionally.

Wade, a tailback from Los Angeles, set an ASU freshman rushing record in 2003 but played only three games in 2004 before he was suspended for the season for receiving improper benefits involving an overdue utility bill.

He had returned to the team and was participating in spring practice at the time of the shooting.

Falkner was a defensive back for the Sun Devils from 1999-2001.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press