Originally created 05/28/03

Man changes plea to guilty in attack on Royals coach



CHICAGO -- A man who pleaded innocent in the father-son beating of a Kansas City Royals coach changed his plea to guilty Tuesday and will be sentenced June 18.

William Ligue Jr. was charged with two counts of aggravated battery last September after leading his teenage son onto the field at a Chicago White Sox game and beating Tom Gamboa, who was coaching at first base.

Ligue's son, released to his mother's custody, was sentenced to five years' probation and 30 hours of community service. Before his sentencing, Gamboa advocated probation rather than prison.

The change of plea was unexpected and not part of a plea agreement, said Marcy Jensen, spokeswoman for the Cook County state's attorney's office. She said his sentence could range from probation to five years in prison.

Cook County public defender Ed Ptacek said his client decided to plead guilty after a meeting with Cook County Circuit Judge Leo Holt. Ptacek said Ligue thought Holt might be more lenient if he changed his plea and did not require a trial.

"We decided to trust the judge," Ptacek said.