Teen pleads guilty to attacking 3 ODU Rugby players

Posted at 6:02 PM, Jun 23, 2015

Norfolk, Va. - 19-year old Chris Slade could be spending the next 25 years of his life behind bars after he pleaded guilty Tuesday in the attack of three Old Dominion Rugby players last Halloween.

Slade stood shaking before the judge Tuesday morning, but his voice remained calmed as he entered his guilty plea.

"Is that what you have done," asked Judge Jerrauld Jones. "Yes," replied Slade. "Is that what you intended to do," Jones asked.  "Yes," Slade responded again.

Slade pleaded guilty to one count of malicious wounding and one count of malicious wounding by a mob for the November 2nd attack on Melrose Parkway.  Two other more serious charges of aggravated malicious wounding were not prosecuted as part of a plea deal struck with Commonwealth's Attorney.

"There are a lot of reasons why defendants plea," said Slade's Public Defender Brett Lucas. "I think it's substantial in this case two of the more serious charges were nolle prosquied by the Commonwealth. It limits the exposure in terms of any sentence he might get and our in ability to acquire witnesses was a factor as well."

Lucas feels, for his client's sake, justice was served.

"As far as my client is involved, I think it has been," Lucas said. "But I'm not sure how the victims would feel about that."

NewsChannel 3 spoke to one of the victim's father, Roly Rigual on the phone today. Michael Rigual was the captain of the ODU Rugby team and was left with a permanent brain injury, shattered jaw and broken teeth after the attack.

"I'm okay with the fact he got convicted with two felonies," Roly Rigual said. "It doesn't matter to me if it was the on specifically for Michael or the more serious charge. What I really would have loved to happen was for Mr. Slade to have some honor and cooperate and give me names of the others involved in it. If he didn't strike my son, then he should be telling us who did. What I really want to know is who were the ones who were actually hitting Michael and those are the ones that I want to go to jail for a long time. "

Slade has been the only one arrested for the attacks. In new documents filed in court after his conviction Tuesday, NewsChannel 3 learned Slade sent text massages admitting that he was involved in the assault and they said that he was sober and fought because "he just felt like fighting to let out the emotion that was already build up in me."

"I've gotten past a lot of the anger," Roly Rigual said. "My son is going to have a good life. He is going to get past all of this. He is going to move on. He is going to have a good life and Mr. Slade, because he felt like fighting, is going to have a pretty crappy one."

Slade is facing a maximum of 25 years behind bars. His sentencing is set for September 11th.


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UPDATE: ODU Rugby players injured in fight near campus; man says son is improving