Feedback: Suspects In Student Attack Plead Not Guilty

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Nearly two weeks after the vicious assault on a Clarkson University lacrosse player, the two St. Lawrence County men accused of the crime entered not guilty pleas Friday in Potsdam Village Court.

The suspects are 20 year old Bryan Bicknell of Parishville and 18 year old Dakota Vallance of Winthrop.

They're accused of attacking 21 year old Donald Whelley, a 6 foot 5 inch, 200 pound sophomore defenseman from Catonsville, Maryland.

The duo allegedly beat Whelley so badly he required facial reconstruction surgery.
 
"This is a horrific incident for all parties involved. It's tragic for our victim and tragic for our community. It throws into question our safety," said Lieutenant Mark Murray                                                     
 
The alleged assault took place along Maple Street, near the former Dealmaker Honda dealership on August 24 around 2 a.m. 

Police said the victim and the two suspects didn't know each other but may have been trash-talking or exchanging words in the minutes before the attack took place.
 
Whelley's parents and several of his lacrosse teammates were in the courtroom watching as Bicknell and Vallance were arraigned on felony second-degree assault charges.

"This is a senseless, heinous act of violence. That's the only way to describe this. It's unconscionable what took place here," said Stephen Whelley, the victim's father.
 
Attorneys for both Bicknell and Vallance declined comment when questioned by 7 News.
 
Police said alcohol may have played a role in the incident.
 
Court documents indicate a passerby found Whelley bleeding from the head, lying on the sidewalk.

The passerby, identified as 22 year old Daniel Netter of Fayetteville, New York, told police he saw two males running from the area just moments before he discovered Whelley.
 
Bicknell and Valance were released under probation supervision.

Whelley continues to recuperate from a broken jaw and orbital fracture.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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