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Central Michigan Players Charged in death


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Two Central Michigan University football

players, including Mid-American Conference first-team running

back Jerry Seymour, have been charged with murder in the

fatal beating of a 26-year-old man during a fight outside a



A third player and a female student also were arraigned on

charges in the July 2004 death of Demarcus Graham, Isabella

County Prosecutor Admin Burdick said.


Seymour, 20, a junior from Miramar, Fla., and Spencer

Lewis, 23, a junior running back from Lathrup Village, were

arraigned Tuesday on one count each of second-degree murder,

involuntary manslaughter, assault with intent to do great

bodily harm and perjury, Burdick said.


Defensive tackle James Edward Cooper Jr., 22, a fifth-year

senior from Detroit, was charged with two counts of perjury,

one count of obstruction of justice and one count of being an

accessory after the fact. Cora Lee Hawkins, 20, a sophomore

from Detroit, was charged with one count of perjury.


All four were arrested Tuesday. Trial Judge William Ervin

set bond at $1 million on the second-degree murder charges

facing Seymour and Lewis and $100,000 on all other charges,

the Morning Sun newspaper of Mount Pleasant reported



Burdick said in a statement that the investigation into

Graham's death has not concluded. But, asked during a

telephone interview from Mount Pleasant if more arrests were

forthcoming, he said, ??The grand jury has a couple more

weeks of work to do, and I can't comment.''


All four suspects were being held Tuesday evening in the

Isabella County Jail. Burdick said he did not know if they

had retained attorneys, but if they had not done so by

Wednesday or Thursday it was likely lawyers would be

appointed for them.


Graham, of Mount Pleasant, was beaten unconscious outside

Shaboom's Pub during a fight on June 25, 2004. He died 19

days later at St. Mary's Hospital in Saginaw.


Isabella County Chief Judge Paul Chamberlain appointed

himself the lone grand juror in September 2004 at Burdick's

request. The prosecutor requested the grand jury after police

said witnesses interviewed about Graham's death were being

uncooperative or lied.


Chippewas coach Brian Kelly indefinitely suspended Seymour

from the football team on April 1, two days after he was

charged with criminal contempt on accusations he lied to the

grand jury. Seymour pleaded no contest and later served 30

days in jail.


Kelly said Tuesday that Cooper and Lewis also have been

indefinitely suspended.


??I have a great deal of faith and trust in our judicial

system,'' Kelly said in a statement. ??These young men will

be given the opportunity to have a fair trial, and because of

our system of justice, are innocent until proven guilty.

However, as student-athletes, they are held to a higher

level, and will remain suspended until further information

becomes available.''


Four other students, including two former football

players, also were charged with criminal contempt during

Chamberlain's investigation. Each served 30 days in jail,

Burdick said. Contempt charges against former player Anthony

Rogers are pending, the prosecutor said.


??The CMU community was very saddened, and I was

personally sickened, by the death of Demarcus Graham as a

result of violence. Such acts do not represent who we are and

the value we place on one another,'' university president

Michael Rao said in a statement.


??The university is extremely disappointed that CMU

students have been charged in this incident. Their alleged

behaviors are inconsistent with the values we hold as a



The 5-foot-5, 190-pound Seymour ran for 1,284 yards last

season and had 47 receptions for 413 yards, earning him a

spot on the All-MAC first team. He rushed for 1,117 yards in

nine games in 2003, when he made the All-MAC second team as a



Lewis started Friday's game against Indiana, rushing for 6

yards on 7 carries and catching 1 pass for 8 yards in a 20-13

home loss.


Because the charges were brought by a grand jury, the

suspects were bound over for trial without a preliminary

hearing, Burdick said. Ervin scheduled pretrial conferences

for Sept. 13.

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