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Man Held After Murder of Reds’ Stenson

November 7, 2003

PHOENIX (AP) _ A 19-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of homicide, robbery and kidnapping in the death of Cincinnati Reds outfielder Dernell Stenson, and police are seeking another suspect.

Stenson’s body was found in a street in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler early Wednesday after a night out with some teammates from the Arizona Fall League. He had been shot, then run over and apparently dragged some distance by his own SUV.

Reginald Riddle of Harvey, Ill., was arrested late Thursday in connection with Stenson’s death, Chandler police said. Authorities also were seeking another man, identified as David Griffith, 20.

It was not immediately clear Friday if either man had an attorney who could comment.

Riddle’s half brother Kevin Riddle, 43, was found driving Stenson’s SUV about two hours after the body was discovered, and he was booked for investigation of possession of stolen property, police said.

Stenson, 25, made his major league debut with the Reds this year, batting .247 with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 37 games. His last home run accounted for Cincinnati’s final run of the season.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said he was ``terribly saddened by the sudden and tragic death.″

Stenson had been playing in the Arizona Fall League, where up-and-coming players are sent to hone their skills.

``People are stunned,″ said Donnie Branch, Stenson’s high school coach in LaGrange, Ga. ``In baseball, we’ve never had a better player. People in the country hadn’t seen that yet and he was fixing to prove what he really could do.″

Mike Gallo, a Houston Astros pitcher and Stenson’s teammate on the Arizona league’s Scottsdale Scorpions, said Stenson had a 14-month-old child.

``He’s just one of the most soft-spoken, athletic guys,″ Gallo said. ``You just wouldn’t imagine it could happen to someone like that.″

Gallo said that after a day game on Tuesday, Stenson had gone out with some teammates ``for a few drinks, to relax and just hang out.″ Gallo said it was a mystery how Stenson wound up in Chandler, several miles from the Scottsdale clubs the players frequent.

``There’s nothing out there,″ Gallo said. ``He had to be forced into doing it.″

In LaGrange, which also produced Mike Cameron of the Seattle Mariners, Stenson was remembered as a popular all-around athlete.

``He was someone every mother would want their child to be like _ a great student, a great athlete, a super young man,″ LaGrange High School secretary Ellen Batchelor said.


Associated Press writers Bob Baum and Daniel Yee contributed to this story.

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