Dequinte Flournoy played on the offensive line for Richardson High School. Alton Franklin was a linebacker at James Madison. Neither got offered the chance to play big-time college football program, so, when they graduated in 2011, they wound up as teammates at Kansas' tiny McPherson College.
Their college careers, even at an NAIA school, proved short-lived. Their coach, Pete Sterbick, told The Salina Journal that Franklin was kicked off the team in August, and Flounoy quit the team the same month.
They stayed at McPherson, however, and were together on the night of September 16 when police discovered Brandon Brown, a 26-year-old defensive lineman from Tabor College in nearby Hillsboro, lying unconscious along a road a block from the McPherson campus. Brown, the father of a 3-year-old son and 7-month-old daughter, was taken to the hospital, where he died six days later.
Little information about exactly what happened has been released by McPherson police -- just that they were called to investigate a disturbance at a house at 4:10 a.m. on a Sunday morning and discovered Brown's body. But they have some idea, because on Saturday, the same day Brown died, they arrested Franklin for aggravated battery, a charge that was soon upgraded to second-degree murder. On Wednesday they arrested Flournoy on a charge of aiding and abetting. Both are being held in McPherson County Jail on a $500,000 bond.
As for motive, McPherson President Michael Schneider attributed the beating to "one brief moment of anger."
"This isn't about a football rivalry," Schneider said in a statement. "It's about a tragic act of violence."