A Nebraska state champion wrestler with a seemingly bright future now faces 50 years in prison after an alleged bullying incident turned deadly, according to multiple media reports out of Omaha.
Central High junior Markell "Flick" Vaughn, who won the Class A state wrestling title at 152 pounds this past fall, landed a punch Friday that ultimately killed 16-year-old classmate Aquilee "Keke" Muse on the Creighton University campus, according to a police report obtained by the Omaha World-Herald.
Vaughn and Central junior linebacker Tre'Vaun Ammons reportedly stopped their car, approaching Muse and his 17-year-old brother Royale on the street. Ammons allegedly said, "Which one of you is getting it first?"
According to Royale's statement to police, Aquilee was returning to his feet during a scuffle with Ammons when Vaughn struck the back of his head, sending the teen to the concrete. Aquilee Muse suffered an apparent seizure, a skull fracture and bleeding on the brain before succumbing to the injuries Tuesday.
"Keke was a wonderful, loving and funny kid," the Muse family said in a statement to the media. "He could put a smile on anyone's face. We always said that he should have his own comedy show. He loved to eat cereal, but more importantly, he loved his family and friends. He was deeply involved with church and carried his Bible in his backpack. We love him, and will miss his big, bright smile every day. During this difficult time, we ask you to please respect our family's privacy as we continue to grieve."
Vaughn and Ammons remain in a Douglas County jail on $100,000 bond and face first-degree assault charges that could land each up to 50 years in prison, according to the World-Herald.
Meanwhile, Vaughn's family has come to the star athlete's defense. Cousin and classmate Teonna Brye told KMTV-TV, "He's just not the type of person who would fight anybody, and for this to happen is really sad. And I know he feels really bad. We're sorry for the family and everything, but he's not a bad person at all."
It's still unclear and almost incomprehensible why Vaughn, who possessed scholarship wrestling potential, would risk throwing away two lives with one alleged punch and so little care for the consequences.
(h/t USA Today)