Lawmaker wants stiffer penalties for "knockout game"

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SPRINGFIELD -- A state lawmaker wants to stiffen penalties for people playing the so-called "knockout game" that involves random attacks on people.

In 2009, Decatur resident and veteran Jerry Newingham, 61, was stomped and beaten to death by a group of teens playing that game. Five teens were originally charged in his murder; two are currently serving long prison terms.

Now Republican state Rep. Dwight Kay of Glen Carbon has introduced the Knockout Assault Prevention Act.

In the "knockout game," people are randomly picked and beaten with a single punch. The attacks are sometimes captured on cell phone video and posted on social media sites.

Kay's bill would increase the penalty for such batteries, which would be considered a felony punishable by three to seven years in prison. His measure also says prosecutors can charge any such defendant 15 years or older as an adult.

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