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Martinez released on bond

Jan 16, 2013 - The Associated Press

LARAMIE - Luke Martinez told Laramie Police officers early Sunday morning that he kicked a defenseless man during a Dec. 30 fight that involved several people outside of the Buckhorn Bar.

Martinez, a University of Wyoming men's basketball player who has since been suspended indefinitely, made his initial appearance Tuesday in Circuit Court with his attorney, Linda Devine. He was released on a $25,000 signature bond.

Martinez was arrested Sunday and charged with aggravated assault and battery stemming from the December fight.

Martinez told police that Parfait Nayigihugu punched him in the left side of the head, according to the affidavit of probable cause. He said he believed someone, possibly Cowboys basketball teammate Derek Cooke Jr., punched Nayigihugu, knocking him unconscious.

Multiple witness statements in the affidavit confirm the incident with varying details. Multiple witnesses reported seeing Nayigihugu grab Cooke, or someone described as a man who looked like Cooke, by the arm. They said the man then turned and punched Nayigihugu and knocked him unconscious. Nayigihugu said he thought he was trying to break up a fight and he had possibly been knocked out by Cooke.

Also according to the affidavit, witnesses said that after Nayigihugu was on the ground, Martinez ran up and kicked Nayigihugu in the head. One witness reported that Nayigihugu had attempted to punch Martinez in the head but missed and that Cooke hit Nayigihugu in the head while trying to protect Martinez. The witness said Martinez waited 15 to 20 seconds and ran about 15 feet before kicking Nayigihugu.

Martinez said he waited about 2 to 3 seconds and that he was about 5 feet away before kicking Nayigihugu in the head.

Witnesses said the kick was forceful, with one witness saying Martinez "kicked him that hard with such force that it made me sick."

Another said it "looked like a perfect soccer kick."

When asked if he kicked Nayigihugu while he was unconscious, Martinez said he possibly stepped on his head.

Later in the interview, Martinez said he had possibly stomped on the man's head.

He also admitted that he kicked Nayigihugu in the head/face while he was on the ground and unable to defend himself.

Martinez positively identified Nayigihugu as the person he kicked from a digital image.

According to the affidavit, Martinez admitted that "he caused serious bodily injury to Nayigihugu knowingly or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life."

During Tuesday's court hearing, Judge Robert Castor informed Martinez of the charges against him and the penalty, if convicted.

Castor talked with Devine and Josh Merseal, deputy county and prosecuting attorney, and agreed to release Martinez on a $25,000 signature bond.

Conditions of the release include three weekly meetings with his attorney and also with someone in the UW Athletics Department.

Scott Duncan, the associate head coach for the UW men's basketball team, was present in the courtroom and confirmed the terms.

He told Castor the athletics department would be able to meet with Martinez per the court's request.

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