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Crime & Courts

Man gets 2 years for stabbing former NIU linebacker Butler

SYCAMORE – The man accused of stabbing former Northern Illinois University linebacker Devon Butler has pleaded guilty to aggravated battery with use of a deadly weapon and was sentenced to two years in prison.

Freddie Sparks-Ward, 25, of the 700 block of North Annie Glidden Road in DeKalb, was charged with armed violence, aggravated battery, battery and criminal trespass to real property stemming from an altercation with Butler at a July, off-campus party.

The other charges were dropped as part of the guilty plea.

On July 22, Sparks-Ward was involved in a fight with Butler at a party in the 800 block of Regent Drive in DeKalb and was thrown out of the party, according to court documents.

Twenty minutes later, Sparks-Ward returned. He and Butler fought again and Sparks-Ward stabbed him with a knife before fleeing on foot. Police arrested Sparks-Ward later that morning and recovered a knife with a blade longer than four inches.

Butler suffered only minor injuries and was back at practice the next day. He was later released from the team for failing to meet team conduct standards. Butler also had been shot in April 2011 while in an off-campus apartment visiting friends. Police stressed that Butler was neither involved in nor was he present during or had knowledge of the drug transaction that led to the drive-by shooting.

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