Murder trial in Stenson death begins next week

MESA, Ariz. -- A plea deal is being considered to prevent a death penalty trial for a man accused of participating in the 2003 slaying of a pro baseball player.

Court records suggest that a psychological exam of suspect Reginald Riddle caused a panel of prosecutors to reconsider seeking the death penalty.

The trial for Riddle, 21, is set to begin Wednesday in Maricopa County Superior Court in the death of Dernell Stenson, a Cincinnati
Reds prospect.

Stenson, 25, was found slain on Nov. 5, 2003, on a street in
suburban Chandler.

David Griffith, a 22-year-old co-defendant, is set to go to
trial on March 6.

Riddle's defense attorney, Steve Koestner, said the state and
defense have been meeting to resolve the case with a plea

Stenson was living in Scottsdale and playing for the Arizona
Fall League's Scottsdale Scorpions at the time of his death.

According to court documents, Griffith and Riddle kidnapped
Stenson and stole his sport utility vehicle outside a Scottsdale
nightclub and drove to Chandler.

Stenson put up a fight as Griffith turned the vehicle around in
a Chandler neighborhood.

Prosecutors said Stenson, who had been shot several times, got
tangled in the seat belt as he tried to escape and was dragged for
1,100 feet.