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Archive for Friday, July 2, 2004

3rd suspect enters plea in slaying in Hays

FHSU freshman killed in fight in November

July 2, 2004

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— A Texas man charged in the beating death of a Fort Hays State University freshman this past November pleaded no contest Thursday to a lower charge.

Christopher Ross, 19, of Wylie, Texas, entered his plea to a count of involuntary manslaughter as part of a plea agreement made before Ellis County District Judge Thomas Toepfer.

Ross is one of four former university students who were charged with second-degree murder in the death of Clint Johnson, 18, of Healy. Johnson was struck in the head with a baseball bat during a series of fights between the buildings and in the parking lot of an apartment complex north of campus during the early-morning hours of Nov. 13. He died two days later.

The four were also charged with aggravated battery for their roles in fights with others that morning.

Two others charged in Johnson's death, Luis Llamas, 24, of San Diego, and Bradley Deary, 21, of Smithville, Texas, already made plea deals. Llamas, whom several witnesses have said swung the bat, pleaded no contest to a single count of voluntary manslaughter Monday, and Deary pleaded guilty in April to aggravated battery. He awaits trial on a federal weapons charge.

The fourth man, Jaime Lopez III, 24, Chula Vista, Calif., is scheduled to go on trial Sept. 7.

Ross, who had a prior misdemeanor conviction, could face up to 34 months in prison.

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