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Man pleads to reduced charge in player's death

MCPHERSON, Kan. (AP) -- A former McPherson College football player who was charged second-degree murder in the beating death of a player from a rival college pleaded no-contest Tuesday to a reduced charge and will testify against a teammate whose trial is scheduled to begin next week.

DeQuinte Flournoy, 20, entered his plea Tuesday to a charge of felony aggravated battery alleging he aided and abetted co-defendant Alton Franklin in beating Tabor College player Brandon Brown at a party in McPherson early Sept. 16, The Hutchinson News (http://bit.ly/14NM0Oa) reported.

Police found Brown, of Sacramento, Calif., lying unresponsive near a road while responding to a report of loud music and a disturbance at a McPherson home. The father of a 3-year-old son and 7-month-old daughter never regained consciousness and died six days later.

Brown, a 6-foot-3, 280-pound defensive lineman, began playing at Santa Ana College in California when he was 24 and transferred to Tabor this academic year as a junior. Tabor is in Hillsboro, about 25 miles east of McPherson. It has more than 600 students and is affiliated with the Mennonite Brethren faith.

Flournoy and Franklin were suspended from McPherson College, where they played football in 2011. Flournoy, an offensive lineman, left the team last August and Franklin, a linebacker, was dismissed that same month before the team's first game of the year.

A medical examiner determined Brown died from blunt-force trauma to the head, with alcohol poisoning a contributing cause.

At a preliminary hearing in January, a third former McPherson College football player, Taajon Richardson, 18, testified that Franklin struck Brown in the face and Flournoy held Brown down. Richardson also testified he saw Brown with an open pocketknife.

Flournoy's plea allows him to avoid trial, which had been scheduled for April 22, and he is scheduled to be sentenced June 3, McPherson County Attorney David Page said.

Flournoy is facing a possible 32-month prison sentence, Page said, but he likely will be put on probation because he has no criminal history.

Franklin's trial on a second-degree murder charge is scheduled to begin Monday. The charge alleges he unintentionally but recklessly killed Brown, or aided and abetted in the killing of Brown, "under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life."