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Multiple charges for man accused of killing AP's son

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- A South Dakota man accused in the death of the young son of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been indicted on second-degree murder and manslaughter charges, prosecutors said Monday.

Joseph Robert Patterson, 27, is expected to be arraigned later this week in the death of 2-year-old Tyrese Robert Ruffin, who died two days after being hospitalized with severe head injuries. Investigators allege that Patterson, the boyfriend of the child's mother, assaulted Tyrese on Oct. 9 while the two were alone in a Sioux Falls apartment.

Patterson was indicted by a grand jury on Friday, Lincoln County state's attorney Tom Wollman said. He was initially jailed on charges of aggravated assault and aggravated battery, though prosecutors pursued more serious charges after the boy's death.

A second-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory life sentence, while first-degree manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The charges accuse Patterson of intentionally or recklessly injuring Tyrese by causing brain damage or bleeding of the skull, from blows, shaking or making the boy's head hit an object or surface.

Patterson's lawyer, Tim Rensch, said his client is "absolutely and totally not guilty." Rensch said he could not yet discuss the case in detail because he hadn't received all of the paperwork.

Peterson, who has said he found out the boy was his son only about two months ago, had been working with Tyrese's mother to arrange a meeting with the boy when he received a call that the child was hospitalized with severe injuries. Peterson said he raced to South Dakota and saw Tyrese for the first time a day before he died.

Peterson returned to Sioux Falls on Wednesday to attend Tyrese's funeral.

Lincoln County court records show a July 2012 protection order was taken out against Patterson, in which he had to stay 1,000 feet away from a former girlfriend, their son and her two other boys for five years.

The woman told the court that Patterson spanked her three-year-old son's bare bottom until it had welts after hearing the boy acted up at church. The woman asked the court to drop the protection order two months later, saying she wanted their son to be raised by both his mother and father.

Prosecutors also are asking a judge to withdraw a suspended sentence Patterson received for a 2012 domestic assault conviction, saying he violated the deal that required him to show no violent, threatening or assaultive behaviour for three years. A hearing on that motion is scheduled for Oct. 30.

 

Wayne out for season

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Colts' victory over Peyton Manning came at a hefty price.

Andrew Luck lost his favourite target and the Indianapolis locker room lost one of its most revered leaders when Reggie Wayne was diagnosed Monday with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee that will cost him the rest of the season.

News of Wayne's injury hit hard at the team complex.

Second-year receiver T.Y. Hilton expressed sadness about losing his mentor. Coach Chuck Pagano tried to lean on his standard line about replacing injured players, though it didn't come with quite the same passion, and Luck blamed himself for putting Wayne in harm's way with a low, underthrown ball late in the game against Denver.

"Looking back it again today, there was really no one within 30 yards of him. He probably would have scored if I actually give him a decent ball. I feel somewhat responsible for the whole thing," Luck said. "I think I feel sick to my stomach about it a little bit."

Wayne, who was not hit on the play, immediately clutched his right knee and stayed on the ground for several minutes as Luck, longtime friend Antoine Bethea, other teammates and a group of trainers gathered around. After making the short walk to the Colts' sideline, the man who had played in 189 consecutive games limped into the locker room with tears in his eyes knowing that his season was likely over.

The perennial Pro Bowler leads his team with 38 catches and 503 yards this season. In 13 seasons, all with the Colts, he has 1,006 receptions, 13,506 yards and 80 TD catches -- second in each category on the franchise's career charts, behind only ex-teammate Marvin Harrison and ahead of Hall of Famer Raymond Berry.

 

Meriweather suspended

CHICAGO -- The NFL on Monday suspended Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather two games for repeat violations of league rules that prohibit hits to the head and neck area of defenseless players.

During his weekly appearance Monday on WSCR-AM, Bears tight end Martellus Bennett referred to Meriweather as a "scumbag" for his vicious hits in Sunday's 45-41 loss to the Redskins.

The league announced Meriweather was penalized twice Sunday for personal fouls.

In the third quarter, he was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit against receiver Alshon Jeffery, whom officials considered to be defenseless. Then, in the fourth quarter, he was penalized again for hitting a defenseless receiver, Brandon Marshall, in the head.

On Sunday, Marshall said of Meriweather: "Maybe he needs to get suspended or taken out of the game completely."

Meriweather, a former Bear, will lose two game checks totaling $141,176.

Meriweather has three days to appeal the suspension, and the resulting expedited appeal would determine his status for the Redskins' game Sunday against the Broncos.

Speaking of defenseless: Bears coaches and executives face season-defining questions about the team's underachieving and injured defense during the upcoming week off.


-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 21, 2013 C9

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