Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 12/19/12
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Two of the three men accused of assaulting Wisconsin running back Montee Ball this summer pleaded guilty to battery charges Wednesday, but both were given a chance to avoid prison. Wendell J. Venerable, 21, and Robert A. Wilks, 22, pleaded guilty to substantial battery, a felony that carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison. But instead of imposing a prison sentence, Dane County Judge Rebecca St. John placed them in a first-offenders program. "This gives you an opportunity to get the support and services you need to avoid coming back into the criminal justice system," she told both men, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. The judge didn't detail terms, but such programs generally last about a year and mandate that defendants meet requirements such as going to a class, paying restitution, doing community service and getting needed treatment. If the requirements aren't met, defendants can be re-sentenced. Venerable and Wilks, both students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, were accused of attacking Ball in August as he walked behind two friends. They allegedly knocked him to the ground and kicked him in the head and chest, leaving him unconscious and with a concussion. A third suspect is scheduled to enter a plea next month. Ball, a star running back, has said he doesn't remember the attack and doesn't know why he was targeted. Witnesses told investigators that one of the attackers claimed Ball had jumped him a week earlier, according to a criminal complaint. That was an apparent reference to a party that Ball attended, but police have said there was no evidence Ball was involved in a fight. Venerable's defense attorney, Brian Hough, told The Associated Press after the hearing that his client was "a victim in a prior altercation involving Mr. Ball," though he wouldn't elaborate. He said they were pleased with the judge's decision. A message left with Wilks's attorney was not immediately returned. Ball wasn't at the hearing, but his father attended. Montee Ball Sr. told the judge he and his family weren't angry at the suspects but that the crime was "unexcusable." "We just wanted to say that we hope that by accepting the plea it's to get the help that these individuals need," Ball Sr. said. He recalled getting a terrifying phone call the night of the attack and being told that his son had been injured. "The last thing you want to hear is that something has happened to one of your children," he said.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jim Ross’ wife Jan dies from injuries due to Vespa crash

Report: Larry Brown to meet with LIU Brooklyn about coaching job

Report: Jay Cutler garnering 'zero' interest around NFL

Paul Millsap to opt out of contract, become free agent

Martellus Bennett calls out NFL to do more to build up communities

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

NBA disciplines Raptors’ Serge Ibaka, Bulls’ Robin Lopez for fighting

Jason Day tearfully withdraws from PGA event to be with ailing mother

Matt Barnes on Derek Fisher chants: ‘I’m sick of that s—’

Brent Musburger admits he once bet on a game he broadcasted

Jeff Hornacek: Knicks will run triangle ‘exclusively’ next season

Reese Witherspoon to speak to women’s gathering at NFL owners meetings

The 'Duke schadenfreude season came early this year' quiz

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Box Score 3/22: Team USA is heading to the championship

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

The 'With teammates like this, who needs rivals?' quiz

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

Box Score 3/21: WBC semis are bat-flipping fun

What you need to know for the World Baseball Classic semis

NBA Western Conference bottom feeders to watch down the stretch

MLB players most likely to break out in 2017

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

The 'With teammates like this, who needs rivals?' quiz

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

What you need to know for the World Baseball Classic semis

Eastern Conference bottom feeders to watch down the stretch

Eat, Drink, Watch: A weekend of March Madness and more

The 'Who will ruin your glorious bracket this year?' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker