BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Two teens accused of murder pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. They were both sentenced to 5 years in prison.
According to officials with the District Attorney's Office, Windall Herring and Donnell Harris pleaded guilty to second-degree battery. Both were originally charged with second-degree murder.
Herring, who was 19-years-old at the time, was facing an additional charge of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile. Harris, who was 15-years-old at the time, was later charged as an adult, allowing for his name to be released to the public record.
The duo were arrested in connection to the beating death of 55-year-old John Bannon. The incident happened 1600 block of Lake Calais Court on February 2, 2014.
Officials with the District Attorney's office say the case was not initially reported as a homicide. Rather, responding officers were initially led to believe that Bannon tripped and fell, causing his injury. He was unresponsive at the scene.
In the days following the incident, tips were sent in to Crime Stoppers indicating that there was more to the story.
Detectives learned that Herring and Harris attacked the victim. Harris reportedly hit Bannon, causing him to fall. When Bannon attempted to run, Herring allegedly chased him and punched him again, causing him to fall again and hit his head on the street.
During questioning, Harris admitted to being at the scene that night, but claimed he only held the victim down Herring hit the victim. Both admitted to drinking and smoking mojo the night the attack occurred.
Bannon died a couple weeks after the incident due to a brain injury.
Officials with the District Attorney's office report that a third individual, Darius Fisher, was also connected to the case and ultimately caused problems for the prosecution due to continued inaccuracies with his statements. The prosecution offered the plea deal for second-degree battery due to lack of physical evidence to establish who actually caused the fatal blows.
The case was heard by Judge Anthony Marabella.