One Suspect Accused in Assault of Darquan Jones Takes Plea Deal

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DES MOINES, Iowa — One of the suspects accused of severely beating a black man in what advocates called a “racially motivated attack” has taken a plea deal in the case.

The lawyers for Dale Millard say their client will accept an Alford plea in the beating of Darquan Jones last May.

As part of the deal, prosecutors are downgrading the willful injury charge against Millard from a Class C felony to a Class D felony. It drops the maximum sentence Millard could face from ten years to five years. His sentencing is scheduled for March 10.

Lawyers for a second suspect in the case, Jesse Downs, signaled in court filings that their client would accept the same plea provided that Millard did. But Downs has yet to take the plea deal. He has a hearing scheduled for Feb. 11.

The two men are accused of attacking Jones outside his girlfriend’s apartment on Des Moines’ south side. Jones suffered several broken bones and lacerations to his face. He had to undergo multiple surgeries to repair the damage.

Court documents allege the pair believed Jones was breaking into the apartment and used racial slurs during the attack.

Advocates such as the NAACP and Jones’ family have called the attack a hate crime, though no hate crime charges were ever filed.

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