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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Local Review

High School Football Player Charged in Student's Death

May 27, 2000

LITTLEROCK — The third high school football player arrested in connection with the beating death of a Littlerock High School student was charged Friday with murder and assault.

Rodney Woods, 17, the son of Littlerock High's track coach, is accused of participating in an attack on Christopher O'Leary on May 19 at a high school party in which the victim was kicked in the head several times, resulting in O'Leary's death Monday.

Woods is a running back who was awarded a full scholarship this year to play football at Fresno State. Prosecutors are petitioning the court to try him as an adult, said Victoria Pipkin, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

He has remained in custody since Wednesday and is scheduled to be arraigned at Sylmar Juvenile Hall on Tuesday.

Authorities have said the beating began when Richard Newton, the starting quarterback at Littlerock High, socked O'Leary in the face without provocation outside the party in Littlerock. After O'Leary crumpled to the ground, Newton's friend, Marcus Raines, a 6-foot-2 linebacker, kicked O'Leary in the head. Authorities would not disclose Woods' role in the homicide, saying only that he participated in the beating.

O'Leary, 18, had been talking with his girlfriend, a high school cheerleader, before the three players picked a fight with him, authorities said.

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