Former MSU Player Charged

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LOMBARD, Ill. -- A former Michigan State football player charged with murder after allegedly throwing a neighbor to his death from a third-floor apartment balcony says he thought the man was trying to kill him.

Hubert D. Thompson, 28, told the Chicago Tribune that he was being poisoned by James Malone, 66, who lived in the same suburban Chicago apartment complex.

Friends and family said Thompson, who was once the nation's top-rated defensive end prospect, suffers from mental illness.

"I decided if I see him one more time, I'm going to kill him. ... I felt my head caving in because of him," Thompson said during a DuPage County Jail interview posted Saturday on the paper's Web site. "As soon as he walked past, I hit him in the back of the head and then I threw him over."

After the March 30 attack, Thompson holed up in his apartment for nearly seven hours while police SWAT teams surrounded the building. He eventually surrendered and was ordered held on $3 million bond.

DuPage County State's Attorney Joseph Birkett has said the attack appeared to be unprovoked and prosecutors have scheduled a psychiatric evaluation of the 6-foot-6-inch, 270-pound Proviso West High School graduate. Birkett did not immediately return a telephone message from The Associated Press on Saturday.

Neighbors described Thompson as friendly, but said his behavior had become erratic in recent months.

Maggie Ross, Thompson's mother, said doctors diagnosed her son with bipolar disorder two years ago, and he stopped taking medication six months ago after saying the drugs made him feel listless and dizzy.

"I tried to force him to keep taking it, but he would be sick and he appeared to be doing OK without taking anything for a while," Ross said. "Nobody was poisoning him."

Lombard Deputy Police Chief Dane Cuny said the department had records of two incidents involving Thompson since 2003 and both stemmed from "an emotional episode."

Thompson was ejected from the 2000 Citrus Bowl against Florida, his final Michigan State game, for fighting with a Gators offensive lineman. He spent two days at a mini-camp for the New Orleans Saints, but was cut for starting a fight over use of an exercise bike, the Tribune reported.

Before attending Michigan State, Thompson was a two-time Illinois state wrestling champion and track athlete.

An arraignment is scheduled for April 30.

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