Charles "Duke" Tanner rose from the troubled streets of Gary to become one of Northwest Indiana's brightest stars in professional sports.
Tanner, a 1998 Andrean High School graduate, had a pro boxing record of 19-0. When he was 23 years old, he signed a three-year contract worth about $150,000. Tanner and his high school sweetheart, Jacquis Coutee, had a son together, and they had set a wedding date.
Tanner was creating his own rags-to-riches story. He was truly living the American dream.
But in September 2004, it all came crashing down when Tanner was arrested by federal agents. In 2006, he was convicted of conspiring in a drug ring. He has been incarcerated for more than four years, left to watch his career and relationships slip away.
The first story in a four-part series about Tanner's life is in today's sportNews. The series, which will run today through Wednesday, chronicles Tanner's evolution as one of the nation's best amateur fighters, his pro career and ascent as a local celebrity, his arrest and trial, and his current situation as an inmate at the Jerome Combs Detention Center in Kankakee, Ill.