Topeka Man Convicted of Murder

A jury convicted a man of killing a college football player in Topeka, and wounding another player who recovered.

Francisco “Franky” Mendez, 21, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the April 28, 2019, death of Dwane Simmons, 23, a cornerback for Washburn University in Topeka.

Mendez was also convicted on four counts of attempted murder for shooting at four other players, wounding Corey Ballentine, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

The shooting occurred hours after Ballentine was drafted by the New York Giants.

Testimony at the trial indicated Simmons and Ballentine were shot as they stood outside a Topeka house where they had attended a party to celebrate Ballentine being drafted.

Prosecutors said the shooting occurred because Mendez and the three other people in the car felt they had been disrespected by the football players.

The other occupants of the car have not been identified and no one else has been charged in the case, which remains under investigation.