10/19/1998 AT 12:00 AM EDT
The World Wrestling Federation on Monday called a ploy to force one of its superstars, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, to testify in a first-degree murder trial "pathetic." The case involves a 12-year-old Florida boy, Lionel Tate, who allegedly killed a playmate, 6-year-old Tiffany Eunick, while mimicking wrestlers he saw on TV when he put the girl in a bear-hug, lifted her up and dropped her onto a table. Tate, who faces trial as an adult, could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of the murder. Tate's attorney, Jim Lewis, subpoenaed Johnson -- a 6-foot-5, 275-pound, third-generation wrestler whose autobiography, "The Rock Says . . .," was No. 2 on last Sunday's New York Times bestseller list -- has not decided whether to accept or fight the subpoena, WWF spokesman Jayson Bernstein told Reuters. But the WWF has criticized the attempt to draw professional wresting into the case.