Athlete Accused of Fatally Punching Man Spent Time in Prison

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A softball player accused of fatally punching a rival team member after a recreational league game in Rochester, N.Y., spent more than four years in prison for battering a man with a golf club, according to state records.

Sean Sanders, 27, ran off the field after punching Daniel Andrews, 37, in the head at the end of the game Sunday afternoon in Parma, a Rochester suburb, and was captured a mile away about six hours later, authorities said.

Andrews was taken unconscious to a hospital and placed on life support. He died Monday evening. Sanders was initially charged with second-degree assault, a felony, and jailed without bail. But prosecutors were weighing whether to upgrade the charges pending an official investigation.

Sanders was imprisoned for second-degree assault in February 2003 and released from Groveland prison in western New York in March 2007, according to records at the state Department of Correctional Services. He also served eight months in prison in 1999 for third-degree burglary.

He was arrested in the Rochester suburb of Greece in November 2002 for hitting a man "numerous times about the body with a golf club," Carole Weaver, a spokeswoman for the state Division of Parole, said yesterday. In pleading guilty, Sanders maintained he was intoxicated and had come to the aid of a friend who was attacked by "numerous other individuals," Weaver said.

Calls to the Monroe County jail were not returned, and it remained unclear whether an attorney had been appointed for Sanders, who lives in Irondequoit, N.Y.

Witnesses told police the game between men mainly in their 30s and 40s had been marred by trash talk. Andrews was punched with a closed fist in the back of the head when the teams lined up to shake hands, said Monroe County Sheriff's spokesman Cpl. John Helfer.

-- From News Services

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