A Conway teen was sentenced to nine years in prison Wednesday after a jury convicted him of second-degree battery for punching a 12-year-old boy while wearing brass knuckles in May 2016.
Kane Derrick Millsaps, 17, was initially charged as an adult with first-degree battery after authorities became aware of a video posted to YouTube showing Millsaps hitting an unsuspecting 12-year-old boy on May 31, 2016. On Wednesday, a jury of seven men and five women ultimately convicted Millsaps of second-degree battery. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.
The victim "looked pretty much dead" following Millsaps’ swings to his face, according to one girl’s testimony Wednesday.
The girl, who was with Millsaps and the victim when Millsaps began hitting the young boy, said she and a group of friends were hanging out as they often did. It was a seemingly normal day until Millsaps put on the brass knuckles he was showing off earlier in the afternoon and unexpectedly punched the 12-year-old boy they’d just met.
"[The victim] looked pretty much dead," she said, noting he laid unconscious on the ground for what seemed like 15 to 20 minutes.
After the girl recalled the events that took place in the moments leading up to her pulling Millsaps away from the bloodied 12 year old, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Megan Carter showed jurors the video recording Millsaps posted to YouTube of the incident.
Millsaps is seen in the 23-second video flipping off the camera while wearing a set of brass knuckles on his left hand before punching the 12-year-old boy in the face. The boy was not looking at Millsaps and was unaware he was about to be hit.
"The first thing I remember was waking up and tasting teeth," the boy testified Wednesday.
According to his testimony, the boy did not remember getting hit. He did remember, however, waking up hoping the loose feeling in his mouth was gravel.
"It felt like a bunch of rocks [were in my mouth], a rough, sandy feeling," he said. "The next morning, everything hurt."
Defense Attorney Frank Shaw asked jurors to consider convicting Millsaps of third-degree battery.
"It’s a bothersome video," he admitted. "It’s painful to watch. But let me tell you folks, it’s not first-degree battery."
Shaw, during his opening statement, conceded Millsaps’s guilt. At no point did the defense deny Millsaps was in the wrong for punching the 12-year-old boy. Shaw did say, however, he did not agree the crime met the requirements for a felony conviction and instead asked the jury to convict Millsaps of misdemeanor third-degree battery.
After hearing from the victim, the girl who pulled Millsaps off of him, the victim’s dentist and the Conway Police Department detective who took on the case after a concerned resident called police when she saw the video, the jury convicted Millsaps of second-degree battery.
Carter and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jordan Crews asked the jury to consider a 10-year enhancement sentence for committing the crime in the presence of children when determining Millsaps’ sentence.
Following its deliberation, the jury sentenced Millsaps to six years in prison for the battery offense. He was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.
Jurors also sentenced Millsaps to an additional three years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections for committing the offense in a child’s presence, for a total of nine years in prison.
Twentieth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Luke Ferguson said Millsaps’s three-year enhancement sentence is a non-parole eligible time frame.
Ferguson said court officials were appreciative of the jury’s attentiveness and devotion to the case.
"We are very appreciative of the time and attention that the jury devoted to this case. It was apparent that they took their duty very seriously," Ferguson said. "The jury’s decision conveys a clear message that senseless violence will not be tolerated in our community, even when the perpetrator may be a teenager. I believe justice was carried out in this case."
The prosecutors in this case worked diligently preparing this case to show jurors the seriousness of Millsaps’s offense, Ferguson said.
"The deputy prosecutors assigned to this case, Megan Carter and Jordan Crews, did a great job presenting the evidence in a way that showed both the seriousness of this crime and the vulnerability of the young victim in this situation."