By Shereen Siewert
The first of four teenage suspects accused of beating a 15-year-old Wausau boy with a baseball bat, leaving him critically injured, will be sentenced this week, two months after being convicted of felony child abuse.
Benjamin K. Dickerson, of Kronenwetter, was convicted July 21 in Marathon County Circuit Court of child abuse-intentionally causing great bodily harm by use of a dangerous weapon, part of a plea agreement. Dickerson, now 17, is being charged as an adult.
He was 16 at the time he was involved in a vicious beating of a teenager on Wausau’s east side, a crime that would have a ripple effect in the community.
Also facing charges in connection with the beating are 16-year-old Jordan Meyer, 16-year-old Brendan Griffin, and 18-year-old Michael Hrobsky. Of the four suspects, only Hrobsky has not been convicted. Meyer and Griffin are awaiting sentencing for their role in the crime.
The attack was reported at about 10:30 p.m. July 1, 2019 in the 600 bock of Chicago Avenue after a resident heard a loud “ting” of a baseball bat, then saw people getting out of a dark sedan and beating the 15-year-old victim, according to the criminal complaint. The victim’s friend took off running and escaped, police said.
Griffin, is also charged as an adult, told police that the sound of the victim’s head being struck by the bat sounded like “hitting a dinger in a baseball game,” according to the police report.
About 10 days later, investigators spoke with a witness who told police he had observed a SnapChat social media post on the day of the attack of four teenage boys wearing bandanas covering their faces and holding baseball bats. The witness identified all four people in the media post.
A second witness told police he spoke with the four suspects on the day of the attack and he became aware that the boys were going somewhere to beat someone up. Later, he saw the teens again and heard them brag about “having beaten someone up,” according to the complaint.
The victim in the case spent weeks in the intensive care unit at a hospital outside of the Wausau area and had a long road to recovery. In 2019, the victim’s mother told Wausau Pilot & Review said her son woke up from a coma a “very different boy.”
Authorities say the incident was the basis for a drive-by shooting in Wausau that happened two days later.
“We believe the victims were targeted by the suspects based upon a perceived association with a related incident that occurred on the evening of Monday, July 1,” Wausau Police Capt. Ben Graham said, in a July 2019 statement. the shooting happened just after 2:30 p.m. in the area of North First Street and McIndoe Street. There were no injuries as a result of the shooting.
Following the shooting a suspect vehicle, registered to 36-year-old Amanda J. Lewis, was quickly identified as a vehicle of interest in the shooting and was located in the vicinity of North Sixth Street and Chicago Avenue. Police say the victim in the July 2019 beating was a friend of Lewis’ son and was at the Lewis’ home prior to the assault.
Officers seized the vehicle and interviewed several people who were seen leaving the residence, including Lewis, who was arrested four days later in connection with the shooting. Lewis is facing charges of attempted first-degree intentional homicide as party to a crime, maintaining a drug trafficking place and obstructing an officer. She remains jailed on a $250,000 cash bond with an appearance set for Oct. 16.
A second suspect in the shooting who was on the run for two months, 32-year-old Maurice Bell, was arrested near Dallas, Texas in an unrelated case and has since been extradited to Wisconsin to face charges of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and possession of a firearm as a felon. He remains jailed on a $500,000 cash bond.
Griffin will be sentenced Nov. 18, while Meyer’s sentencing is set for Oct. 27. Hrobsky’s next court appearance is also in October.
Dickerson, who is the son of a retired Everest Metro Police Officer, will be sentenced Friday morning. He faces up to 40 years in the Wisconsin Prison System. Circuit Judge Greg Huber will preside.