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Archive for Sunday, September 19, 2004

Former FHSU student found innocent of murder, convicted on other charges

September 19, 2004

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— A former Fort Hays State University student was found innocent Friday of second-degree murder, but was convicted of three other charges in last year's beating death of another student.

An Ellis County jury deliberated for 19 hours over three days before returning the verdicts against Jaime R. Lopez III, 24, of Chula Vista, Calif., who was one of four people charged in the Nov. 13, 2003, beating death of Clint. W. Johnson, 18, of Healy.

Lopez was found guilty of one count of aggravated battery and two misdemeanor counts of intimidation of witnesses.

Three other former university students -- Christopher Ross, 20, of Wylie, Texas; Louis A. Llamas, 24, of San Diego; and Bradley D. Deary, 21, of Smithville, Texas -- have all been sentenced for their roles in Johnson's death.

Ellis County Attorney Tom Drees argued during the trial that Johnson was beaten with a baseball bat in a series of fights at an apartment complex north of the campus. He died two days later at a Wichita hospital.

After the verdict, Drees praised the jury for its hard work and said it "obviously just couldn't say beyond a reasonable doubt that (Lopez) hit Johnson."

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