As senior running back Montee Ball and his Wisconsin teammates gear-up for the Rose Bowl, his alleged attackers are prepping for Wisconsin’s First Offender Program to avoid criminal conviction. On Wednesday, Wendell Venerable, 21, and Robert Wilks, 22, pleaded guilty to substantial battery for attacking running back Montee Ball this past summer. The charge is a felony that carries a maximum penalty of 18-months in prison. Both men took the guilty plea, and the judge kept them out of jail.
Typically the First Offender Program is a 12-month program in which offenders divert from the formal court process and sign a contract agreeing to attend class, make restitution, engage in community restitution work, and secure needed psychiatric, alcohol and/or drug, vocational or other counseling. If either defendant fails to meet any of the requirements or gets into any trouble the judge can impose a re-sentence.
This incident stems from Wilks and Venerable allegedly attacking Ball in August of 2012. According to reports, the assailants knocked Ball to the ground and kicked him repeatedly until he was unconscious. A third attacker was present who is incidentally scheduled to enter a guilty plea in the coming weeks.
Prior reports suggest that this attack was in retaliation of Ball jumping one of the assailants at a party earlier in the year.