Archive for Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Defendant agrees to plea in beating of homeless man

March 31, 2004


Prosecutors have allowed a man who admitted to the near-fatal beating of a homeless man to plead guilty to a lesser charge -- a deal that cuts his potential prison time almost in half.

Ivan D. Prentup, who told a judge, "I didn't mean to hurt the guy that bad" and confessed to police, initially was charged with aggravated robbery and aggravated battery.

But late Tuesday he accepted an offer from Dist. Atty. Christine Kenney's office to plead no contest to one count of simple robbery.

So instead of a minimum sentence of 59 months, or about 5 years, he's now facing a minimum sentence of about 32 months.

The victim in the case, 57-year-old Alan Cannon, spent five days in a Kansas City-area hospital after the Dec. 15 attack outside the Lawrence Open Shelter, 944 Ky. He testified that he remembered someone attacking him in the dark, pounding his head on the sidewalk and threatening to kill him.

Police arrested Prentup shortly after he claimed in an interview with the Journal-World that he had seen Cannon on the ground and tried to help him.

Both Prentup and Cannon had been staying at the Salvation Army shelter, 946 N.H. But Cannon testified he'd only met Prentup once before, when Prentup sold him a fleece stocking cap a few days earlier.

Prentup told police he decided to beat Cannon because Cannon had taunted him by calling him "redskin" and other American Indian slurs.

Prentup told police the attack happened after he and Cannon had been unable to get into the open shelter, according to testimony. The newly opened shelter -- which allows intoxicated residents but usually shuts its doors at 10 p.m. -- has been controversial among some neighbors who said they believed it would attract crime.

Prentup remains in the Douglas County Jail and will appear April 23 for sentencing.

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