October 11, 2017 7:39:14 AM
Isabelle Altman - [email protected]
Two men indicted for beating a man at the West Point Huddle House pleaded guilty Monday in Clay County Circuit Court.
Kent Davis, 26, of Okolona, and Marquavious McMillian, 34, of Aberdeen, both admitted to attacking military veteran Ralph Weems, of Clay County, in the parking lot of the restaurant on Highway 45 Alternate in August 2014.
Davis' sentencing is set for 9:30 a.m. Friday. McMillian was sentenced to eight years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections with two to serve and five years of post-release supervision.
A third defendant, Courtez McMillian, 25, of Okolona, pleaded guilty in April, and was sentenced to seven years in MDOC. Five years, eight months of that was suspended, and he was given credit for time served.
The guilty pleas put to rest a case that caught national attention, when news outlets reported in 2014 Weems may have been attacked because of his race -- he is white, and the defendants are black -- or his record of military service. District Attorney Scott Colom refuted those claims in a press release he issued Monday night.
"After a thorough investigation by the West Point Police Department and the District Attorney's Office, it was determined that the assault was not premeditated because of race or military service," the release says. "Indeed, the District Attorney's Office plans to publicly disclose the evidence in the case, including the motive for the assault, at the sentencing hearing of Mr. Davis on Friday."
Weems was found unresponsive in the Huddle House parking lot at about 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 23, 2014. The beating was severe enough that Weems was taken to North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo where he remained in a coma for several days.
A witness at the time told authorities several men had beaten Weems -- at one time national media outlets reported a mob of about 20 -- but only the three defendants were indicted.
While Davis' sentence will not be official until Friday, Davis' attorney, Collen Hudson of Columbus, said she expects her client to be sentenced to 10 years with five suspended.
Hudson otherwise declined to comment on the case, saying she wanted to consult with Davis before speaking publicly about his plea.