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Attack in Wisconsin over popped Minnesota Vikings mascot leads to six months in jail

A Madison man who slashed a Stoughton, Wis., man's Minnesota Vikings inflatable lawn decoration, then slashed the man's face during a fight that followed, was sentenced Friday to six months in jail.

Jacob A. Justice, 22, pleaded no contest in June to misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct for the Oct. 9 incident in the 700 block of South Van Buren Street in Stoughton. The cut to David Moschel's face required 67 stitches and eight staples to close, and Deputy District Attorney Matthew Moeser said that disfiguring scar that the cut has left behind has left Moschel anxious and deeply depressed.

Before sentencing Justice, Dane County Circuit Judge Nicholas McNamara said he was puzzled about why Justice slashed the Vikings figure at all, after learning that it was not over a longstanding National Football League rivalry. He called it "bizarre behavior" by Justice.

Instead, Justice explained that he punctured the Vikings blow-up after hearing Moschel yelling at his children.

"I went for a walk and heard him yelling obscenities at his kids," Justice said, adding that Moschel sounded intoxicated. "I made a poor decision and I popped it."

In addition to six months in jail for misdemeanor battery, which McNamara ordered to be served immediately, McNamara sentenced Justice to two years of probation for a second count of misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct.

Had the reason for the mascot slashing been football rivalry, McNamara said he was poised to order Justice to spend 48 days in jail, structured as three days each weekend that the Packers play this season.

The cut to Moschel's face came close to his left eye, and McNamara said Justice should feel lucky that he did not cut the eye.

"This isn't a bad choice for Mr. Justice," McNamara said. "A bad choice is something that doesn't really matter. This is terrifying. This is violence. No matter what you perceived, this is someone who did nothing to you."

A criminal complaint states that Moschel told police that he caught Justice cutting into the inflated figure and went outside to stop him. Accounts differ on what happened next. In the complaint, Moschel said that when he asked Justice what he was doing, Justice charged at him and a fight ensued.

In court Friday, Justice's lawyer, Mark Eisenberg, said that after cutting the Viking, Justice had gotten about 30 feet away when Moschel attacked him. He pointed out Justice's bruised right eye as evidence that Moschel "caught him pretty good." After that, he said, Justice took out the knife he carried for protection and used it to defend himself against Moschel.