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Ex-Horned Frog Acquitted in Fight

March 10, 1998

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ A former Texas Christian football player has been acquitted of charges he beat up a fellow student outside a bar in 1996.

Jurors needed only 22 minutes yesterday to find William Thompson innocent in the attack of Bryan Boyd.

``I just want to thank the people who stood behind me for standing behind me,″ said Thompson, who now coaches at Trinity Valley College in Athens.

Three other former players _ Jason Howard Davern, 24; James Porter McFarland, 22, and Ryan Huey Tucker, 22 _ have pleaded no contest to aggravated assault in plea agreements with prosecutors and are awaiting sentencing.

According to court testimony, Boyd suffered a fractured skull, temporary facial paralysis and a slight hearing loss in the May 11, 1996, brawl.

Juror David Stiver said prosecutors did not prove that Thompson meant to hurt Boyd as seriously as he did during the fight.

According to court testimony, Boyd challenged the football players to a fight but backed down before punches were thrown. As Boyd walked away, McFarland hit him from behind and, when Boyd recovered from the blow, he punched Thompson, according to court testimony.

Thompson hit Boyd back and slammed him into a brick wall, Thompson testified. Boyd’s skull was most likely fractured when he hit the wall, according to court testimony.

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