Path Of A Falling Star

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    According to the girl, Chmura, wearing a bath towel, spotted her and beckoned her into the bathroom, where the encounter allegedly occurred. Another student, a high school football player named Mike Kleber, later told SPORTS ILLUSTRATED that he warned the girl not to join Chmura. When a friend realized that she had disappeared into the bathroom, she became worried and began pounding on the door. The friend told police that she heard clothes rustling before the door swung open and the alleged victim bolted from the bathroom "with her eyes very big and a look of panic on her face." As she gathered her things to flee the party, the friend said, she broke into tears. When police arrested Chmura, one of his first remarks was directed at the girl: "How could you do this?"

    If found guilty as charged, Chmura could face 40 years in prison. County district attorney Paul Bucher, who many in Waukesha say has political aspirations, is pressing the case aggressively. He faces defense lawyer Gerald Boyle, best known for defending serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Stephen Glynn, a Milwaukee attorney who successfully defended former Packer James Lofton in 1987 against a charge of sexual assault, observes that "the problem Chmura would face is that certain facts here are not flattering: adult guys in a hot tub with 17-year-old girls. The fact that this is a juvenile makes it a tough case for the defense."

    Chmura has, for the most part, kept his silence. In the interview with the Journal Sentinel, he said he felt he was being treated as "entertainment. Like the O.J. Simpson case was entertainment...But we are not entertainment. We're a normal, average American family that's got a cross to bear." "He's had a lot of bullets fired his way, and he's still standing," says Drana, who is also Chmura's close friend and golf partner. "His spirits are good." Lynda Chmura says, "I do not need your sympathy. What I need is your fairness and understanding that my husband is innocent until--unless--he is proved guilty. I knew where my husband was that night." As Chmura said in his interview, "I cannot defend myself until this trial is over with, and then people will believe me."

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