A former Kenai resident and star hockey player was bound over for trial on felony murder charges at a preliminary hearing in Menomonie, Wis., Tuesday.
Jedidiah McGlasson, 21, who was recruited to play hockey at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie this year, and fellow teammate and Stout student Jared C. Britton, 23, of Regina, Saskatchewan, are charged with battery resulting in the death of Stout student Bradley L. Simon, 22, of Waunakee, Wis., on Sept. 23.
Both men face charges of being party to the crimes of felony murder and felony battery.
McGlasson and Britton were released from custody on a $10,000 bond shortly after their arrests in September. Their arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 13.
Simon died from head injuries after authorities said he and the bicycle he was riding were pushed into a concrete wall in downtown Menomonie on Sept. 18. The incident happened after the men had a dispute in a bar over a sweatshirt Britton was wearing.
"Our position is that the young man was pushed and these two were acting together and who actually pushed him doesn't matter from the legal standpoint," said James Peterson, district attorney for Dunn County, which includes Menomonie.
He said Tuesday's preliminary hearing was more of a mini-trial to determine probable cause in the case before it can go to trial.
In the two-hour long hearing, there was live testimony that summarized the criminal complaint in the case, Peterson said.
That included testimony of eyewitness Joseph Kuehn, a bouncer who was working at the local tavern, The Log Jam, where the men were that night and where they had a "verbal altercation," according to authorities.
Peterson said Kuehn observed the altercation and followed Britton and McGlasson when they chased Simon on his bicycle.
"He believed it was Jared Britton who actually shoved the bicycle," he said.
Britton is believed to be the primary person involved in the altercation.
Kuehn is the only eyewitness to the event, other than the two defendants, according to Peterson.
McGlasson, a 2007 graduate of Kenai Central, played on the Kenai River Brown Bear hockey team for two and a half years before finishing his North American Hockey League career on the Alaska Avalanche.
Under Wisconsin homicide law, felony murder is a homicide committed during commission of another felony; in this case the men are being charged with aggravated battery, intent to cause bodily harm.
The state is not suggesting that Britton and McGlasson "knew or intended to cause the death" of Simon, Peterson said, but it believes they intended to cause some harm.
"It's more akin to what many people understand as manslaughter," he said.
"It's a tragic case."
A case that is ultimately up to a future jury to decide.
In less than two weeks Britton and McGlasson are expected to enter not guilty pleas or stay mute before the case proceeds to trial, Peterson said.
"The issue is really going to be whether the conduct of the two men charged caused these injuries and what their intentions were," he said.
Both men have suspended indefinitely from the hockey team.
Brielle Schaeffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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