Topeka man pleads not guilty in deadly shooting of Dwane Simmons

TOPEKA, Kan. — A man charged in the shooting death of a former Washburn University football player and the wounding of current New York Giants cornerback Corey Ballentine has pleaded not guilty.

The pleas were entered Thursday on behalf of 18-year-old Francisco Mendez, who faces 12 charges after the April 28 shooting that killed Dwane Simmons.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Mendez is charged with first-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and seven counts of aggravated robbery. Simmons, Ballentine and three other Washburn players were shot at as they celebrated after Ballentine was drafted by the Giants earlier in the day.

The robbery charges stem from crimes prosecutors say were committed before and after the shooting.

Investigators have said at least three guns were used in the shooting and the investigation is continuing.

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