"I almost died:" Caleb Menges, attacked in brawl around bonfire, unhappy suspects got probation

KENOSHA COUNTY (WITI) -- He was beaten and badly burned in a brawl around a bonfire. While he's recovered physically, he says justice hasn't been served. Caleb Menges tells FOX6 News he's angry those charged with attacking him won't be going to jail.

Menges says he thinks his attackers should have been charged with attempted murder.

"It was probably the worst time of my life, most painful," Menges said.

A brawl around a bonfire in Kenosha County sent Menges to Froedtert Hospital for 10 days.

"I got third-degree burns all over my body -- had to get plastic surgery on my eyes," Menges said.

Menges told police it all started when he demanded an apology from then 20-year-old Logan Kramer, and found himself in a fight with Kramer and then 23-year-old Matthew Arnold.

"I got knocked into a fire. I took Logan with me and when I was in there, Matt had kicked me in the face. He was wearing steel-toed boots and he knocked me out," Menges said.

Now, a year-and-a-half later, Kramer and Arnold have made their way through the justice system.

Kramer pleaded guilty to aggravated battery and was sentenced to serve six years probation.

Arnold pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced on year probation.

All other charges filed against the two were dismissed.

"Definitely doesn't feel like justice was served," Menges said.

Menges says he wanted the case to go to trial.

"I thought big time jail time for sure. I almost died," Menges said.

"Plea bargaining generally is a method by which the criminal justice system works. It is to many people a necessary evil. It is a compromise by both sides," Steve Kohn, a criminal defense attorney in Milwaukee said.

Kohn has handled many cases like this. He says there are a lot of factors that lead to plea bargains -- especially for defense attorneys needing to prove what happened.

"Normally there are a number of different versions of what occurred. Those are skewed by the ability to observe, intoxication may be an issue, ability to see. This is a bonfire. It was dark," Kohn said.

Kohn says the age of the suspects and the backgrounds of everyone involved can also factor into a sentencing decision.

"It just blew me away. Like, I was shocked," Menges said.

FOX6 News reached out to the attorneys for Arnold and Kramer, but we haven't heard back.

Menges says he plans to move to the West Coast and start a new life.

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