SAN ANTONIO - A 20-year-old Lee High School graduate has died in Wisconsin after being beaten with a baseball bat.
Ryan Smith died Saturday at the hospital from his multiple skull fractures and lung injuries.
The suspect in the case, 18-year-old Koalton Peterson, was charged Monday in Dane County Circuit Court. He is being held on $1 million bond.
Peterson has claimed self-defense.
According to the Dane County Sheriff's Office, the two men exchanged text messages over the sale of marijuana shortly before the murder.
Friends and family of Smith said drugs did not play a role in the murder. They said Peterson is using that as an alibi.
Smith graduated in 2010 and played football at Lee High School.
When his parents moved to Wisconsin during his junior year of high school, Smith’s neighbors opened their home to Smith so he could finish high school in San Antonio.
Becky Velasquez said it was like having another son at home.
She said her family is devastated by the news of his murder.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “It’s just losing your own son or daughter. It is really hard for us.”
Tuesday night a prayer vigil is being held in the memory of Smith at St. Gregory Catholic Church. The vigil starts at 7:00 p.m. Friends are hoping to raise money at the vigil to help Smith's parents of pay for his funeral.