<
>

Report: Not guilty plea for Hinson

The man accused of fatally stabbing a Chicago Bears fan who was in Jacksonville for a game against the Jaguars in October pleaded not guilty on Thursday, according to a report.

Matthew Reid Hinson, 27, was not granted bail and will remain in jail until the trial, which is scheduled for March, according to the Florida Times-Union.

Hinson faces a second-degree murder charge for the stabbing of William "Christopher" Pettry, a 42-year-old Lake Villa, Ill., resident. Pettry was stabbed at Fionn MacCool's, a restaurant and bar in the Jacksonville Landing area early on Oct. 7. He was later pronounced dead. Police have not disclosed a motive for the stabbing.

Assistant State Attorney Jeff Moody told the judge that the state has not ruled out upping the charge to first-degree murder and seeking the death penalty, according to the paper.

The Bears have been active in their support for Pettry's family. Coach Lovie Smith opened his news conference on Oct. 8 by offering his condolences to the family. Tight end Kellen Davis and his agent, Wayne Jett, organized a fundraiser for the family at a bar in Chicago, auctioning off Bears memorabilia and other items to help raise funds to assist Pettry's wife, Karen, and her three children.

The Pettry family was also the guest of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler on Oct. 22.

Veronica Pettry, a sister of Christopher Pettry, last month expressed the family's gratitude for all the support.

"Our whole family has been reached out to by (people in) Jacksonville, Fla., and the penultimate has been being reached out to by players who are taking time out of their own lives and families to help us, and we're just so overwhelmed with gratitude," Veronica Pettry told ESPNChicago.com. "Of course Chicago is an amazing town. It may be a big city, but it's a big city with heart."