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Guilty plea in 2014 attack on ex-Minn. State, Mankato player

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MANKATO, Minn. (AP) A Minnesota man pleaded guilty Wednesday in a beating that left a former Minnesota State, Mankato football player with severe brain injuries nearly two years ago.

Trevor Shelley, 22, of St. Peter, pleaded guilty to felony first-degree assault. A second count of third-degree assault would be dismissed under the plea deal.

Blue Earth County District Judge Bradley Walker conditionally accepted the plea and set sentencing for May 13. Shelley could face up to a year in jail, The Free Press of Mankato ( ) reported.

Shelley admitted punching former Mavericks linebacker Isaac Kolstad outside a downtown Mankato nightclub in May 2014. Former University of Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson kicked Kolstad in the head after he fell. Nelson, 22, was sentenced last March to 100 hours of community service after pleading guilty to misdemeanor fifth-degree assault.

Defense attorney Rich Hillesheim said Shelley is remorseful. His trial was scheduled to begin Monday.

''He's extremely sorry for what happened to Mr. Kolstad,'' Hillesheim said after the hearing. ''It's a no-win situation for three young men.''

Blue Earth County Attorney Pat McDermott, who prosecuted the case, said there was no dispute about who committed the assault, but debate continued about whether Nelson or Shelley caused Kolstad the most harm.

''The medical testimony was what it was going to come down to,'' McDermott said. ''This is not a case of who did it. We know that there are experts that were coming down on both sides of this and it would be up to 12 people to decide who should they pick to believe more. There were experts saying the vast majority of the injury was caused by the initial punch and hitting of the ground.''

Kenneth White, an attorney representing the Kolstad family, called the plea a ''good resolution.'' White said Kolstad's family hopes Shelley receives a ''significant sanction'' at sentencing.

Kolstad, 26, has been improving and hopes to return to work, White said.

Nelson was removed from the Rutgers football team soon after the brawl. He had transferred there from the University of Minnesota.


Information from: The Free Press,