By Shereen Siewert
A 17-year-old Kronenwetter boy, one of four suspects accused of beating and critically injuring a 15-year-old Wausau boy with a baseball bat will serve eight months in jail, the result of a plea agreement on felony child abuse charges.
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. Dickerson, who was 16 at the time of the attack, was charged as an adult and was sentenced Friday by Circuit Judge Greg Huber.
During a two-hour sentencing hearing, Judge Huber imposed a six-year prison sentence, but stayed the sentence for five years of probation. The conditions of the plea agreement call for Dickerson to serve the eight-month jail term with an additional four months stayed for rule violations.
Dickerson, the son of a retired Everest Metro Police officer, was also ordered to apologize to the victim, earn a high school diploma and perform 200 hours of community service. The maximum penalty for his crime was 40 years in the Wisconsin Prison System.
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.
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.
Residents in the neighborhood were further shaken by a drive-by shooting two days after the beating that happened in the area of North First Street and McIndoe Street. There were no injuries as a result of the shooting, which police said was “perceived retaliation” for the beating.
Following the shooting a 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.
At sentencing, Judge Huber gave the green light for electric monitoring to allow Dickerson to attend school, work, treatment or church.
Dickerson was also granted 129 days credit for time served if his probation is revoked, time that would be deducted from any prison term imposed if Dickerson doesn’t follow the rules of his probation.
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.