Almanac

News - April 21, 2010

Jail terms ahead for Menlo College students

Prosecutors asked for two-year prison terms for two Menlo College students who assaulted two other Menlo College students in January 2009, but the judge sentenced them April 16 to terms in San Mateo County jail and three years of supervised probation.

Superior Court Judge Susan Etezadi sentenced Benjamin Kain-Williams, 21, of Atherton, to a year in jail, and Darrell Allen Willis, 25, of Wheatland, California, to six months in jail, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Both defendants had pleaded "no contest" in October to felony assault, and Mr. Kain-Williams admitted to an additional charge of causing great bodily injury to Donte Snyder, a member of the Menlo College baseball team who was hospitalized with a fractured skull.

The defendants had been out of jail on $25,000 bail. They received credit for one day already served, prosecutors said.

Judge Etezadi conditioned the defendants' probation on payment of restitution: $133,150 for Mr. Snyder, and a yet to be determined sum for the other victim, Brian Phillips.

During probation, police may search the defendants' homes and vehicles with or without probable cause, and will not need a warrant to seize evidence of probation violations, prosecutors said. Their plea bargains also require that they abstain from alcohol and drugs, undergo counseling, pay fines and fees totaling $280, pay a $75 monthly probation fee, and submit DNA samples. They are not allowed to contact the victims.

Before sentencing, both defendants apologized for their conduct, prosecutors said.

In the incident that led to the injuries, prosecutors said the defendants got into a loud argument with the victims after "heavy drinking" at a Menlo Park restaurant, then met again a couple of hours later at the intersection of Glenwood and Garwood avenues, where the arguing continued and the fight ensued.

Mr. Kain-Williams, a football player for the college, subsequently withdrew from the school.

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