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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hearing begins in beating death over video game

BY RON SYLVESTER
The Wichita Eagle

While playing the "Madden NFL 2010" video game, Luke German was accused of cheating by two brothers.

Their response, prosecutors say, was to beat and choke the 22-year-old to death.

The brothers stand charged with second-degree murder after a medical examiner determined German died of multiple blunt-force trauma injuries and strangulation.

A judge Tuesday morning began hearing testimony about the October fight in the preliminary hearing of Christopher Redgate, 26. His brother Benjamin Redgate, 22, waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Sedgwick County District Court.

A police detective testified that Christopher Redgate said that his brother accused German of cheating after they had been drinking and playing the video game on a PlayStation 2.

Detective Chad Beard said Christopher Redgate told him his brother became enraged. An argument erupted and spilled out into the front yard of the house in the 3900 block of Roseberry, near Pawnee and George Washington Boulevard.

Benjamin Redgate then apparently began beating German with a metal pipe, Christopher Redgate told police.

Beard said Christopher Redgate said he tried to help German by pulling him into the house.

"I had Christopher demonstrate how he kind of held onto this individual, Lucas, and when he did this, he actually kind of grabbed me in a choke hold, around my neck," Beard testified. "Then he kind of lowered it around the upper body."

Christopher Redgate said his brother continued to kick German as he was pulled into the house, Beard said.

Inside the house, with German still on the ground, Beard said Christopher Redgate told police that his brother continued to beat German with the pipe.

Emergency crews responded to a 911 call to find German not breathing just before midnight Oct. 19.

Deputy Coroner Bamidele Adeagbo, a pathologist with the Sedgwick County Forensic Science Center, said cuts and bruises covered nearly all of German's body.

"On the head and neck there were injuries suggestive of, and in fact very consistent with, strangulation," Adeagbo said.

Adeagbo said German also suffered multiple internal injuries. It was a combination of strangling and beating injuries, authorities said, that killed German, who died three days later at the hospital.

Prosecutor C.J. Rieg determined that another witness, Christopher's girlfriend, needed legal counsel because she faces criminal charges in an unrelated case.

Judge Joe Kisner scheduled the hearing to continue Tuesday.

Reach Ron Sylvester at 316-268-6514 or rsylvester@wichitaeagle.com.

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