UM Hoops Player Pleads Not Guilty in Bar Fight

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA — A University of Montana basketball player has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct involving a weekend fight outside a Missoula bar.

Keron DeShields, 20, entered his plea Monday in Missoula Municipal Court, while a judge granted a request by the sophomore guard’s graduating teammate, Will Cherry, to postpone his court appearance until next week.

A third man accused of being involved in the fight outside the Stockman’s Bar early Saturday, Jason Shawn Snyder, also pleaded not guilty to disorderly conduct, possession of marijuana and possession of a marijuana pipe.

An affidavit of probable cause filed against Cherry says DeShields told police that Cherry had been “jumped,” the Missoulian reported in a story published Tuesday.

Cherry, 22, was held back by two men as he tried to get to Snyder, according to the affidavit. Cherry yanked his arm away from an officer who was trying to restrain him and cursed, the affidavit said.

Cherry approached Snyder, 34, twice more and an officer attempted to handcuff him, the document said. Police used a stun gun when Cherry refused to be handcuffed, it said.

As Cherry and Snyder were being arrested, “Keron refused to disperse from the scene and ran around in the street at West Front and Higgins yelling profanity in front of the remaining crowd,” according to the affidavit of probable cause filed against DeShields.

Acting Missoula Municipal Court Judge Geoff Mahar granted attorney David Paoli’s request to postpone Cherry’s court date until next week.

Cherry was released from jail Saturday after posting $420 bond. Mahar allowed DeShields to remain free on the $185 bond he posted Saturday.

He set DeShields’ next court appearance for July 1, and ordered him to keep away from Stockman’s in particular and bars in general.

Snyder’s next court appearance also was set for July.

The fight was the second downtown disturbance involving university athletes in two weekends. UM athletic director Kent Haslam said he’s meeting one-on-one with those involved.

“You can’t just sit there and pretend it’s not happening and hope that it goes away,” Haslam said. “It’s unfortunate because I spend far more time talking about the Student-Athlete Code of Conduct than I should.”

On April 21, an assistant football coach and a football player were involved in an incident in which a bar window was broken. Kade Rannings, the tight ends coach, was demoted but remains with the team, according to football coach Mick Delaney.

Citing privacy issues, UM would not detail the sanctions against the player, whose name was not released because the owner declined to press charges.

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