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 Wisc...