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posted: 12/9/2013 7:15 PM

2 Des Plaines men sentenced in dumbbell attack

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Two Des Plaines men convicted in October for attacking another man with a handheld dumbbell were sentenced on Monday -- one to prison and the other to probation on top of jail time he's already served.

Following a hearing that included emotional statements from co-defendants Nicholas Ungureanu and Bryan Fogell, both 22, Cook County Judge Kay Hanlon sentenced Ungureanu to two years in prison, including credit for 258 days in custody.

Hanlon sentenced Fogell to 170 days in jail, time he already served, and 30 months probation, with 12 months of intensive probation.

Hanlon found Ungureanu and Fogell guilty of aggravated battery but acquitted them of the more serious charges of attempted murder and home invasion in a case that Ungureanu's attorney, Cook County Assistant Public Defender Daniel Naranjo, called "wholly overcharged."

Authorities say the attack earlier this year resulted from Ungureanu's jealousy over a former girlfriend, whom the 20-year-old victim was dating.

Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Shilpa Patel said the victim was at home when Ungureanu and Fogel entered and Ungureanu attacked him with a handheld dumbbell, causing injuries to the man's head.

Patel argued for incarceration, citing 11 threatening messages Ungureanu left for the victim, including "I have a bullet with your name on it."

Citing police testimony that the door to the home was intact, Fogell's defense attorney, Tony DeJohn, argued that the victim did not testify credibly when he said the defendants broke down his door. DeJohn also stated that Ungureanu's voice-mail messages made it clear he was under the influence of alcohol.

Naranjo agreed, describing his client's statements as a rant that was "not taken seriously" by the victim who let the defendants into his home.

"I ask you for a second chance," implored Ungureanu. "Being locked in a cage like an animal is not worth it."

Reading from a prepared statement, Fogell referenced his wife, mother and grandmother, "the three most important people in my life."

"I was portrayed to be an out-of-control animal. I'm not like that," said Fogell, who said he tried to break up the fight and who prosecutors acknowledged did not strike the victim.

Hanlon noted that both defendants had their families present throughout.

"That makes you very fortunate young men," she said. "There are cases where there is no one here. No one."

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