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Long Beach State football star Ron Settles died, not...

LOS ANGELES -- Long Beach State football star Ron Settles died, not by hanging himself as police contend, but 'at the hands of another other than by accident,' a coroner's inquest jury ruled Wednesday.

The verdict came in the second day of deliberations following nine days of testimony.

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The district attorney will now make a decision whether to prosecute the case.

Suburban Signal Hill police said Settles, a 21-year-old football star at Long Beach State, hanged himself after being stopped for speeding. Others, including Settles' parents, can't imagine the young athlete would have killed himself.

'I will never believe he took his own life,' Mrs. Settles said. 'Ronnie had too much to live for.'

Settles, who would have been a senior at Long Beach State this year, was stopped by Signal Hill police June 2 for speeding. Police said Settles became violent and was later booked on charges of assaulting a police officer and possession of cocaine.

Police said there was a fight in the station between Settles and at least two officers and that the football star was repeatedly struck about the head and neck during the struggle. Two hours after he was booked, police said, Settles was found hanging in his cell by a noose fashioned from a mattress cover.

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