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Vigil held for San Antonio man beaten to death in Wisconsin

Ryan Smith was a Lee High School graduate

SAN ANTONIO - Friends of 20-year-old Ryan Smith held a prayer service and candlelight vigil at St. Gregory’s Church Tuesday night to remember his life.


Smith died Saturday after investigators say he was beaten with a baseball bat by 18-year-old Koalton Peterson in Madison, Wisconsin.

The two reportedly got into an argument over purchasing marijuana.

Smith moved to Wisconsin after graduating from Lee High School.

“We can’t all go to Wisconsin,” said Becky Velasquez, a friend of the Smith family. “So we wanted to have this prayer service for him because people want to pay their respects."

Following the service, friends gathered at a candlelight vigil where some shared their memories of Smith. Each person attending released a balloon into the air in Smith’s honor.

“He was friends with my daughter and we adopted him like he was one of our own,” said Maria Navarro. “He had a smile that lit up any room.”

The balloons and slices of pizza were sold to help the Smith family pay for funeral costs. Peterson is in jail charged with reckless homicide.

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