CHICAGO — Four of the five Wheaton College student football players accused of injuring another player during an alleged hazing incident pleaded not guilty Monday to nine felony counts.

The four players, flanked by half a dozen attorneys, made their first appearances in DuPage County since they were charged in September. A fifth player, James Cooksey, is set to be arraigned next month.

Attorneys for Noah Spielman, 21; Samuel TeBos, 22; Kyler Kregel, 21; and Benjamin Pettway, 22, waived formal reading of the indictment and entered not guilty pleas on behalf of their clients in front of Judge Brian Telander.

The judge then gave the players the standard admonishments about attending court when required and the possible consequences for failing to appear. He also explained the possible penalties for convictions and individually asked each of the players if he understood the charges. Each said he understood.

An attorney for one of the players asked the judge to allow him to comment on accusations of sexual misconduct made by the alleged victim to police. None of the charges against the players alleges sexual misconduct.

The judge has issued a gag order in the case, barring the parties from publicly commenting on the case. Attorney Paul Moreschi, who, along with Paul DeLuca, is representing Kregel, asked the court to partially lift the order so attorneys could comment on the accusations the alleged victim made.

According to authorities, on March 19, 2016, the five players allegedly bound a fellow player, a freshman, with duct tape and placed a pillow case over his head and forced him into a car before eventually leaving him partially clothed on a local baseball field.

The student received injuries to his shoulders that required surgery, according to authorities.

The student also told police that during the car ride someone tried to insert something into his rectum. In court Monday, Moreschi told the judge that allegation is untrue and is not part of the charges. He asked the court for an exception to the gag order in order to publicly respond. Other attorneys representing the players said they would join in Moreschi’s order.

The judge set an Oct. 31 date to further consider whether to grant the exception.

—Chicago Tribune


Man found dead in Arkansas bar probably sat there for hours

A man sat in the corner of a Hot Springs, Ark., bar for hours Saturday before fellow patrons discovered he’d died, police say.

Kenneth Norling, 53, had probably died five or six hours earlier, according to a coroner’s report, Cpl. Kirk Zaner of the Hot Springs Police Department told McClatchy. The exact cause of death has not been determined pending an autopsy, but foul play is not suspected.

Two patrons sitting nearby noticed Norling slumped against the wall in the corner of a hotel bar and restaurant about 6:50 p.m. Saturday and, after a few moments, went to check on him, thinking he might have passed out, according to police.

“They touched him and he was unresponsive,” Zaner said. “He was cold.”

They notified employees, who called police. Two nurses in the restaurant heard the commotion and also checked Norling but found no sign of a pulse, Zaner said. Norling was not breathing.

Employees at the bar told police they hadn’t noticed anything unusual about Norling before he was discovered to have died.

—The Sacramento Bee


Temperatures break records across LA area; triple-digit heat forecast for World Series

LOS ANGELES — Heat records were set Monday across Southern California as temperatures soared before Tuesday’s World Series opener at Dodger Stadium.

Downtown Los Angeles hit 102 degrees, Long Beach 105, Burbank 101 and Oxnard 104, according to the National Weather Service, all new highs for the day.

Forecasters said that Tuesday was also likely to see sweltering conditions that could set new records. Downtown L.A. and other parts of the Los Angeles Basin are expected to see triple-digit heat, with the Los Angeles Dodgers-Houston Astros series set to begin at Dodger Stadium around 5 p.m. Pacific time.

The National Weather Service on Monday issued a red-flag warning through Wednesday, saying the high temperatures and Santa Ana winds will “bring the most dangerous fire weather conditions that Southwest California has seen in the past few years.”

Should a fire break out, “there will be the potential for very rapid fire spread … and extreme fire behavior that could lead to a significant threat to life and property,” the weather service said.

Southern California’s hot and dry conditions come as firefighters begin to stand down from a series of massive wildfires that devastated Northern California’s wine country, claiming more than 40 lives and taxing resources.

Stoked at times by 50-mph winds, there have been 18 large wildfires in Northern California that have displaced about 100,000 people and destroyed roughly 7,700 homes and other buildings since Oct. 8, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

—Los Angeles Times


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