Created:Monday, July 23, 2012 1:03 p.m.CDT
Updated:Tuesday, July 24, 2012 7:56 a.m.CDT
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Bond set for DeKalb man in stabbing of NIU's Butler

By CAITLIN MULLEN - cmullen@shawmedia.com
Northern Illinois linebacker Devon Butler (left) watches NIU's 2011 spring game at Huskie Stadium. Butler was stabbed Sunday at an off-campus party. (Chronicle file photo)

SYCAMORE – A DeKalb man charged with stabbing Northern Illinois University linebacker Devon Butler after he was ejected from an off-campus party had bond set at $200,000 Monday.

Freddy E. 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. If convicted of the armed violence charge, he could serve up to 30 years in prison.

He appeared in court Monday via closed-circuit TV from the DeKalb County Jail.

About 3 a.m. Sunday, Sparks-Ward was involved in a physical fight with a man at a party in the 800 block of Regent Drive in De-Kalb and was thrown out of the party, according to court documents.

Twenty minutes later, Sparks-Ward returned; he fought with partygoers again, and Sparks-Ward stabbed Butler in the upper left chest with a knife. Sparks-Ward suffered minor facial injuries when Butler and others fought back.

Several witnesses told police Butler was stabbed by Sparks-Ward, who fled on foot, according to court documents.

When police arrested him about 9:30 a.m., Sparks-Ward admitted to stabbing the victim and said he was involved in two fights with him. When he fled, Sparks-Ward said he threw the knife on the ground. Police recovered the knife, which had a blade longer than 4 inches, according to court documents.

Police said the victim was treated at Kishwaukee Community Hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening and released. DeKalb police Sgt. Jason Leverton confirmed that the victim was Butler, although there is no connection to the shooting Butler was involved in last year.

On April 5, 2011, Butler was shot while in an off-campus apartment. Police have said the shooting was in retaliation for a drug deal that happened earlier in the day in which Mark Orozco and Richard Van Arsdale III supplied between 10 to 30 grams of marijuana, but did not get paid, to two other people.

The drug deal took place several hours before the 11:56 p.m. shooting at a location near the Aspen Court apartment building. According to police, the two who stole the drugs went to apartment No. 3 of 1009 Aspen Court and hid. Police stressed that Butler was not involved in nor was he present during or had knowledge of the drug transaction.

Authorities said that Orozco fired four rounds from a 9 mm gun into that apartment while riding in a vehicle driven by Van Arsdale III. Butler was in that apartment visiting friends; he was shot in the upper right side of his back.

Butler’s Twitter account shows tweets about a two-day party Friday and Saturday nights at his apartment in the 800 block of Regent Drive. NIU Spokeswoman Donna Turner said the injuries Butler suffered Sunday were “very, very minor,” and he worked out with the team Monday morning.

“We’re aware of the incident and are kind of in the gathering-information stage of that,” she said Monday. She said football coach Dave Doeren was unavailable for comment.

Doeren is scheduled to be at today’s Mid-American Conference media day in Detroit.

Leverton said Sparks-Ward claimed he was battered at the party and thrown out, and police are looking into what happened as he was ejected from the party.

Police do not plan to charge Butler, Leverton said, because witnesses made it clear he was defending himself.

Prosecutor Phil Montgomery with the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s Office said Sparks-Ward is currently on probation for aggravated unlawful restraint and has served time in prison for possession of a stolen car.

The public defender’s office was appointed to represent Sparks-Ward, who will next appear in court Aug. 14.

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