A Prentice man pleaded no contest and was sentenced to one-year probation in Rusk County Circuit Court on June 5 for his involvement in committing battery against two men.

According to the criminal complaint, on Sept. 22, 2016 two Hispanic men were at a bar in Bruce when two white men Paul T. Hegeholz, 27, and Erik Poradish, 24, and a white female, Amber Aicher, 22, became very disrespectful and verbally harassed the two Hispanic men.

Hegeholz was insinuating the two men were “illegals” and demanded money from them for tax money they owed to Americans. Hegeholz, Poradish and Aicher, according to the criminal complaint, were very confrontational.

Due to their disruptive behavior and their treatment of the Hispanic men, the bartender kicked Hegeholz, Poradish and Aicher out of the bar, according to the criminal complaint. The bartender had the two Hispanic men stay at the bar for an additional 30 minutes to avoid any further altercations. It is alleged that Hegeholz followed the two men to their home, jumped out of his vehicle and began to fight the two men who acted in self-defense and sustained injuries.

Hegeholz was originally charged with misdemeanor battery as a party to a crime with a hate crime modifier and disorderly conduct as a party to a crime. He pleaded to amended charges of misdemeanor battery and the other charges and modifiers were dismissed but read in. Hegeholz was sentenced to one-year probation and is required to pay $411.09 in restitution and court costs, provide a DNA sample and maintain absolute sobriety.

In another court case also heard on June 5, Hegeholz was also facing felony charges of bail jumping and vehicle operator fleeing or eluding an officer. The charge of bail jumping was dismissed but read in and Hegeholz received a three-year deferred prosecution or sentence for the charge of vehicle operator fleeing or eluding an officer. During this time Hegeholz must maintain absolute sobriety, commit no violations of state or federal law, successfully complete one-year probation and pay court costs. If unsuccessful, the state will move to enter a plea and Hegeholz will be required to return to court for sentencing.

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