UPDATE: Last suspect in Montee Ball attack is in custody

UPDATED Tuesday, July 16, 2013 --- 7:36 p.m.

The last suspect in the attack on the former UW running back Montee Ball is in the Dane County jail. He was arrested in Chicago.

According to Madison police Detective David Gouran, Karlis D. Griffin, 28, was arrested on a warrant last week. He said he did not know the details of his arrest. However, Griffin arrived in Dane County this week.

On August 1st, at 2:15am Montee Ball was attacked while walking in the 500 Block of University Ave. Witnesses report a group of five individuals where involved in the assault.


UPDATED Thursday, October 11, 2012 --- 9:50 a.m.

The Madison Police Department and Madison Area Crime Stoppers need your help in identifying suspects in the Substantial Battery of Montee Ball.

On August 1st, at 2:15am Montee Ball was attacked while walking in the 500 Block of University Ave.

Witnesses report a group of five individuals where involved in the assault.

Madison Police Department is looking to identify two possible suspects in the attack. Click on the photo for the SLIDESHOW.

If you have any information about this case or can identify these suspects please contact Madison Area Crime Stoppers on the web at TipSubmit.com or call 266-6014 or text “Dane” and your message to CRIMES (274637). Individuals contacting Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.


UPDATED: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 --- 5:45 p.m.
REPORTER: Chris Woodard

Today a judge ordered all three men accused of attacking Montee Ball to stand trial.

After an hour and a half of testimony about what went down that night in August, Ball's parents are confident police have the right guys.

They're also more convinced than ever their son was not involved in a previous fight that injured one of the suspects.

Police paint a picture of an unprovoked attack on an unsuspecting Ball as he walked home late one night in August.

They also tell the story of a woman, Ball's friend, who threw herself on top of him to stop the attack.

Melissa Ball says, "She's an angel. I thank her for what she's done for my son."

Today the prosecution explained how they'd identified three suspected attackers through surveillance video and witness statements.

UW students Robert Wilks, Deonte Wilson and Wendell Venerable have been charged.

Ball's father, Montee Sr says, "We feel there is enough evidence that this will go to trial and justice will be done."

But defense attorneys challenge that there was not enough evidence to accurately identify the men.

Brian Hough is representing Venerable.

He says, "It's clear to us that the process employed by the officers violates the Wisconsin statute as well as the model policies and procedures with respect to eyewitness identification."

Defense attorneys also say they're not convinced Ball suffered substantial bodily harm which is what makes this a felony case.

There was also testimony about a previous fight at a campus area party.

Venerable was beat up.

A detective on the stand said, "He told me he believes Montee Ball was one of the people who fought him at this party."

Police have said Ball was at the party but not involved in the fight.

His father says, "All I know is from that event everyone is talking about, they had a stack of witness evidence and no one has pointed a finger at Montee having anything to do with that incident."

Today all 3 men were bound over for trial.

All three entered pleas of not guilty.


UPDATED: Saturday, September 22, 2012 --- 2:30p.m.

Badger running back Montee Ball did not return to the game this afternoon after suffering an apparent head injury. The Heisman finalist from last season was injured after a one yard score in the second quarter against UTEP.

Ball was checked out by the training staff and did not return to the game.


UPDATED: Saturday, September 22, 2012 --- 12:26p.m.

Montee Ball has been taken out of the game against Utep due to a head injury and will not return.


UPDATED: Monday, September 17, 2012 --- 5:20 p.m.
REPORTER: Chris Woodard

3 UW students have been charged in the attack on the star UW football player Montee Ball.

Tonight we're also learning more about what evidence police have in a case that seems to center around witness statements and surveillance video.

Three UW-Madison students, Wendell Venerable, Robert Wilks and Deonte Wilson have been charged with substantial battery - party to a crime.

All 3 appeared in court today.

According to a criminal complaint on the night of the attack 5 men called out to Ball and then jumped him.

A witness tells police he saw all three of the men charged today kicking and punching Ball. He says he thought the men were trying to kill Ball because of the force they were using.

To stop the attackers a woman, Ball's friend, told police she laid on top of him while he was being kicked.

Another man told police he pulled out a pocket knife to scare away attackers.

Then only 15 minutes after the attack and only one block away witnesses to the attack say they saw the same suspects outside the Saxony Apartments.

A property manager there was able to identify the three men by using surveillance video.

Police then used pictures from that video to go back to witnesses and confirm they were the same three men seen beating Ball.

Today lawyers didn't say much about the case.

But attorney Eric Schulenburg says he got involved because of someone half way across the country.

He said, "It was a referral from someone in Washington D.C."

He's been helping suspect Deonte Wilson who's previously said he's innocent.

Schulenburg said, "I've been in it because I didn't want him to be there without a lawyer."

All three men are out on signature bond tonight and will be back in court on October 2nd.

According to the criminal complaint one of the suspects did complain to a witness during the attack that Ball had jumped him previously.

The criminal complaint makes no reference to a previous fight that is still under investigation by Madison Police.

That fight involved other football players and police believe it's connected to the attack on Ball.

Police say Ball was at the site of that previous fight but don't believe he was involved in the fight.

Ball has also said he was not involved in a prior fight.


UPDATED: Monday, September 17, 2012 --- 12:05 p.m.

The three men accused of attacking Badgers running back Montee Ball have been charged.

Wendell Venerable, Deonte Wilson, and Robert Wilks appeared in Dane County Court this morning.

They were each charged with a count of Substantial Battery/Party to a Crime.


UPDATED: Saturday, September 15, 2012 --- 7:45p.m.

Charges for the three men accused of attacking Badgers running back Montee Ball could come as early as Monday, September 17.

The charges had been delayed because the prosecutors didn't have all of the police reports from the incident.


UPDATED Monday, September 10, 2012 --- 12:20 p.m.

From the Associated Press:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A prosecutor says charges against three men accused of assaulting Wisconsin running back Montee Ball have been delayed because he doesn't have all the police reports from last month's incident.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne told a court commissioner Monday that not all of the police reports have been received by prosecutors.

Ozanne says an initial appearance for the men on unspecified charges could be scheduled for Sept. 17.

Probable cause affidavits say a witness and surveillance video place the men in the area where Ball was attacked on Aug. 1. The Heisman Trophy finalist suffered a concussion during the early morning assault near campus.

Ball was smothered by Oregon State's defense Saturday when the Beavers upset the Badgers 10-7.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.


UPDATED: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 --- 5:25 p.m.
POSTED: Chris Woodard

Police say they've taken three men into custody without incident and they will be charged with party to a crime—substantial battery. Police allege the men took part in the beating of star Badgers running back Montee Ball.

The men arrested are 21-year-old Wendell Venerable, 21-year-old Deonte Wilson and 21-year-old Robert Wilks.

All three men are still in jail tonight.

Four weeks ago Ball was jumped outside a campus area bar and beaten so badly he was hospitalized with a concussion.

Tuesday police made the arrests.

According to the University of Wisconsin Dean of Students all three men arrested are UW-Madison students.

Venerable is a senior with no declared major.

Wilson is a senior majoring in electrical engineering.

Wilks is a junior majoring in economics.

Madison Police Public Information Officer Joel DeSpain says, "We've had some very strong witness statements and some corroborating surveillance video we've been able to utilize."

According to online court records none of the men have any significant or violent criminal history in Wisconsin.

Before the arrest yesterday Wilson posted a message to his Facebook page where he already appeared to be declaring his innocence.

He wrote in part, "I have been non-violent for well over a year now, yet they are trying to crucify me because somebody has to take the blame."

Police are still investigating a fight that took place at a house party 5 days before Ball was attacked.

Police say several football players were involved in the fight and say Ball was there, but they have no evidence suggesting he was involved.

DeSpain says, "Certainly we believe there is a correlation, a connection, between what took place on the 27th of July and the battery that took place on August 1st."

There is a report coming from TMZ.com, citing a source saying one of the men arrested was at that house party and was injured during the original fight.

Police won't confirm that report.

DeSpain says, "We're still reviewing the prior incident."

Witnesses have said there were 5 men who attacked Ball and with only three arrests made police say the investigation is still active and there is the possibility of additional arrests.

These men may appear in court as soon as tomorrow and according to the DA's office they will see a judge by Friday.


UPDATED Wednesday, August 29, 2012 --- 12:50 p.m.

Statement from UW-Madison Dean of Students Lori Berquam:

"The Division of Student Life and the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics appreciate the efforts of the Madison Police Department in helping to keep our students and community safe.

UW-Madison reviews reports it receives about students who have allegedly engaged in non-academic misconduct. The Division of Student Life reviews allegations under Chapters 17 & 18 of the UW System Administrative Code. If a student is found responsible for violating UW System codes, sanctions can range from a meeting with a dean or a letter in their file up to suspension or expulsion.

Additional process details are here: http://students.wisc.edu/doso/nonacadmisconduct.html

We are unable to discuss the discipline process as it relates to specific students under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Publicly available (directory) information about the three individuals named in this case is below."

Wendell Venerable
UW-Madison student
Senior/no major listed

Deonte Wilson
UW-Madison student
Senior/Electrical Engineering

Robert Wilks
UW-Madison student


UPDATED Wednesday, August 29, 2012 --- 7:50 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Police have arrested three suspects in the assault on Wisconsin running back Montee Ball.

Ball sustained a concussion when he was attacked by several men near campus Aug. 1.

A police report says three 21-year-old Madison men were arrested Tuesday afternoon. They all face battery charges.

The report also says detectives are still investigating a fight at a house party July 27 involving students, players and other individuals. While Ball was present, it says, police found no evidence he was involved. One person received hospital treatment for an injury suffered during the fight, but nobody has been charged so far.

Ball, a Heisman Trophy finalist last season as a junior, has said he had nothing to do with the fight. He hopes to be ready for the season opener.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.


UPDATED: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 --- 8:43p.m.

Release from Madison Police Department:

The MPD has developed probable cause to arrest 3 men involved in the August 1st attack on University Ave.

The suspects are identified as:

1. Wendell J. Venerable, age 21, Madison
2. Deonte J. Wilson, age 21, Madison
3. Robert A. Wilks, age 21, Madison.

All 3 were taken into custody on Tuesday afternoon, August 28th. Each has been tentatively charged with Substantial Battery-Party To A Crime.

While investigating the substantial battery, the MPD learned of an earlier conflict which had not been previously reported to police. It occurred at a house party on Friday night, July 27th. That case is still under review.

Wendell J. Venerable, age 21, Madison
Mr. Venerable was arrested for Party To A Crime (PTAC) - Substantial Battery.

Deonte J. Wilson, age 21, Madison
Mr. Wilson was arrested for PTAC – Substantial Battery.

Robert A. Wilks, age 21, Madison
Mr. Wilks was arrested for PTAC – Substantial Battery.


UPDATED Saturday, August 4, 2012 --- 3:00 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Madison police investigating an assault on star Wisconsin running back Montee Ball say they've developed "several persons of interest."

A police statement released Saturday says investigators have determined that a fight occurred a few days prior to the assault. That fight on July 27 involved Wisconsin students, members of the football team and others.

Police say Ball was there but there's no indication he participated in the fight.

Five days later, five men roughed up Ball near campus. Ball suffered a concussion that will keep him out of practice when camp starts Monday.

Police say they're following up on several leads, and that Ball and the school are cooperating fully.

Police Chief Noble Wray says the assault on Ball doesn't appear to be a random attack.

Here is the media release from the Madison Police Department:

The Madison Police Department, through information developed by detectives, have determined that there was a fight that occurred Friday night (July 27th-28th) which involved UW students, members of the UW football team, and other individuals that were not affiliated with the University of Wisconsin’s Athletics Department.

We have also determined that Montee Ball was present at the location of that fight, but we have no information that leads us to believe that he had any involvement in that particular event.

There was one individual that did sustain an injury during the fight, and was subsequently treated at a local hospital for that injury.

There is a potential for charges to be pursued, related to the investigated fight, but no charges have been filed.

As this investigation is ongoing, specific details outlining the identities of either victims or involved parties are not being released.

As the Madison Police Department attempts to direct its focus to the attack of Montee Ball on 8/1/2012, at approximately 2:15am, helpful information has also been developed through interviews and available video evidence.

The detectives have developed several persons of interests on the attack of Montee Ball, and are following up on subsequent leads.

Several UW football players have been interviewed, and we have received full cooperation from The Athletics Department, all players including Montee Ball.

Other details about this incident will not be released, as there are a number of investigative leads that are being pursued.

It is important to note that in a high profile case such as this, we should reserve judgment and limit the amount of misinformation that is disseminated, as it does not help the investigation that is being conducted by The Madison Police Department.

Chief Wray has stated, “Although Montee Ball was assaulted on a public street, this incident does not fit the pattern of random violence that we have seen in recent weeks in downtown Madison”.


UPDATED Saturday, August 4, 2012 --- 5:40 a.m.

Montee Ball tweeted the following late Friday night:

‏@M_Ball28 With success, will come many haters And completely fabricated stories!! I will stick to what I've been doing since day 1 #eyesontheprize

This tweet comes following a new report on TMZ.com. Here is an excerpt of that report posted yesterday evening: Police in Madison, Wisconsin have interviewed a man who claims he was beat up by UW running back Montee Ball at a party last week ... and want to know if the alleged victim had anything to do with the attack on Ball on Wednesday morning.


UPDATED Friday, August 3, 2012 --- 5:10 p.m.
By: Barclay Pollak

"I saw them kicking him on the ground and then people were coming to break it up. There were just a bunch of people everywhere. "

James Kerr was downtown Wednesday morning when Badgers star running back, Montee Ball, was attacked.

He says he caught the tail end of the incident. Some witnesses have claimed that one of the attackers said something along the lines of, " one down, nine to go, " leading many to speculate that the attack may have been targeted. But Kerr says that's not what was said.

"He didn't say that. I was stone cold sober and what I heard was one down 90 to go. I'm going to take out the whole football team." According to the Badgers official roster they have just over 90 players on their team.

Madison Police also came forward with new information today. Howard Payne, a spokesperson for MPD, says Montee has been cooperative. He also says they are looking into an event that may have lead to the attack.

"My understanding is that the scope is pretty wide in terms of the number of people. Much more than a handful. An actual number I don't know. I think there are a number of individuals out there that we really wanted to speak with. "

Police couldn't say when or where this prior incident happened. But they did say they believe it happened in the downtown area.

Police also say Montee's cell phone has been recovered. They do not believe it was taken by his attackers. They say it may have been misplaced in the scuffle.


UPDATED Friday, August 3, 2012 --- 7:25 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema says star running back Montee Ball won't be ready for camp after suffering a concussion during a street fight.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal (http://bit.ly/M6qTO2 ), Bielema said during a taping of a show at WISC-TV studios in Madison on Thursday that Ball won't be ready when practice begins Monday. The Badgers open the season at home Sept. 1 against Northern Iowa.

Bielema gave no indication Ball would suffer any long-term problems. He said Ball's absence will spare last year's Heisman Trophy finalist hits and give other backs more repetitions.

Police said five men knocked Ball down as he was walking near campus early Wednesday. The men kicked him in the head and chest before fleeing.


Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.


UPDATED Thursday, August 2, 2012 --- 12:32 p.m.

Badger Montee Ball is denying a report on TMZ.com. He released the following tweet:

@M_Ball28: The report that I was involved in a fight is totally false.

TMZ reports that, according to sources, Wednesday morning's attack on Ball may be in retaliation to a fight last week at a football players home. A non-football player was reportedly beaten up.

Madison Police tell NBC15 News they are aware the rumor of this fight and are investigating. They are also continuing to investigate Wednesday morning's attack on Ball.


UPDATED: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 --- 7:36p.m.

Tonight NBC 15's Phil Levin spoke with a witness who saw much of the incident unfold.

UW student Luke Wills says he was hanging out with a group of people, including Montee Ball and some other UW athletes at State Street Brats. The attack happened around bar time. The large group of people began to disperse, and Will himself was on his way to get a sandwich from Eberts and Gerberts when he heard women begin to scream outside.

He ran out toward the screams and saw the attack already happening. One attacker was sprinting from the scene while four others continued to punch Ball, who was on the ground. Will says he heard one of the attackers say something to the effect of "9 more football players."

The fight ended when some guys in the area came and broke it up. The attackers took off and left Ball unconscious. A woman held up his head, while another person held up his legs until emergency crews arrived. Soon there were police, fire crews, and an ambulance. Will says he stuck around but was not questioned by police.


UPDATED Wednesday, August 1, 2012 --- 5:47 p.m.
By: Barclay Pollak

" I was really disappointed to hear it first of all. But unfortunately not all that surprised. "

For Corey Quade this latest incident, that sent Badgers star Running Back Montee Ball to the hospital, is just another in a long line of violent Incidents right outside his shop.

" There was a shooting. There was a fight in front of my store here a couple of weekends ago where there was a gun pulled and knife. "

Quade owns the Erbert and Gerbert Sandwich Shop near the intersection of University and Gilman, the same intersection where a witness, who did not wish to go on camera claims they saw Ball lying on the ground.

According to Joel DeSpain, the Madison Police Department's Public Information Officer, Ball was on his way home at about 2 this morning.

Two of his friends were walking ahead of him. That's when he was attacked by five men. DeSpain says they knocked him down and began punching and kicking him in the head. The attackers eventually ran away.

" Citizens who were there were able to intervene and scare these perpetrators off, " says DeSpain. " There was one man who said he came running to the victim's aid and a woman who was also nearby who also came running to help. "

The attackers were last seen running South on Frances Street toward the Kohl Center. Police are still looking for the suspects and more importantly they're trying to put business owners and a community at ease after another violent incident downtown.

DeSpain says, " We are very committed to making sure that this area is safe and we're going to put the resources to make sure that these people who are causing problems either go away or get arrested. "

All police can say about the attackers is they were all between 5'8 and 6'3. They were African American males and they ranged from small to heavy builds. Anyone who has more information should contact the Madison Police Department.


UPDATED Wednesday, August 1, 2012 --- 4:33 p.m.

Tweet from Coach Bret Bielema:

@BretBielema Appreciate everyone reaching out concerned about Montee and his health. He walked into my office this afternoon and will be with us Sunday.


UPDATED Wednesday, August 1, 2012 --- 4:09 p.m.

Tweet from @BadgerFootball:

Per #Badgers Sports Medicine - Montee suffered concussion, facial injuries. No timetable on return


UPDATED Wednesday, August 1, 2012 --- 11:09 a.m.

Montee Ball released the following tweet this morning:

@M_Ball28: I appreciate the support and thank you for the concerns.I will be okay! See you guys in September! #WiscONsin


UPDATED Wednesday, August 1, 2012 --- 10:35 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Authorities say a group of men attacked star Wisconsin running back Montee Ball early Wednesday morning, knocking him to the ground and causing injuries that sent him to the hospital.

Police said five men jumped Ball around 2:15 a.m. near campus They knocked him down and kicked him.

Ball, a finalist for the Hesiman Trophy last season, was taken to a hospital with head injuries. Coach Bret Bielema said Ball has been released and is under the care of the school's sports medicine staff. Bielema says he expects Ball will make a full recovery, but did not address Ball's availability. The season opens Sept. 1 against Northern Iowa.

Police say Ball apparently didn't know who the men were.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.


UPDATED: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 -- 10:10 a.m.

Statement from UW Athletics:

MADISON, Wis. -- University of Wisconsin senior Montee Ball was the victim of what Madison Police are investigating as an "unprovoked assault" early Wednesday morning.

Below is a statement from Wisconsin head football coach Bret Bielema:

"My concern right now is for Montee's health and well-being. Montee has been released from the hospital and is under the care and supervision of our sports medicine staff. We will continue to evaluate him as we approach the start of fall camp this weekend. I do expect Montee to make a full recovery."

Here is the Incident Report from the Madison Police Department:

Incident Type

Incident Date
08/01/2012 - 2:15 AM

500 block University Ave.

Male, black, wearing a blue polo shirt
Male, black, wearing a purple polo shirt
Male, black, wearing a white shirt
Male, black, wearing a red shirt
Male, black

Attackers were described as ranging from 5'8" to 6'3" with small to heavy builds.

Male, age 21, Madison

A 21-year old man was attacked while walking in the 500 block of University Ave. early this morning.

Witnesses said five men jumped the victim.

He was knocked to the ground and kicked.

The victim was taken to a hospital with head injuries. It does not appear he knew his attackers and this is being investigated as an unprovoked assault.

The criminals were last seen running south on N. Frances St. toward the Kohl Center.

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