Three 18-year-olds — two in police custody, the third still at large — have been charged with murder in a deadly beating attack that police said reflected a “mob mentality.” According to the Des Moines Register, the victim, 40-year-old Richard Daughenbaugh, was found severely beaten in a parking lot around 1 a.m. Sunday. He died of his injuries at a local hospital.
The homicide apparently stemmed from a verbal altercation between Daughenbaugh and one of the men arrested, though Des Moines Police Sgt. Jason Halifax declined to say which one.
Yarvon Nathaniel Russell, James Alon Shorter, and Kent Anthony Tyler III were charged Friday with first-degree murder. Shorter (pictured) and Russell were arrested and taken to Polk County Jail. A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Tyler, who was still at large as of Friday night.
The argument, police say, was two-sided. The physical attack was not. According to eyewitnesses, one of the suspects attacked Daughenbaugh. The other two joined in. Police say other acquaintances of the teens were involved in the ensuing fracas.
One witness, an unidentified woman who was fishing nearby, tried to step in and stop the assault. She, too, was struck for her trouble, as was a companion who tried to defend her.
When the woman attempted to call 911, two members of the mob are alleged to have grabbed her cell phone and threw it. She eventually retrieved it and completed the call, which brought police.
The phrase ‘mob mentality’ is probably accurate here. Once the assault began, acquaintances of the suspect jumped in.
Investigators didn’t find a motive. Police recovered Daughenbaugh’s wallet, which suggests the event wasn’t a robbery gone bad.
In addition to the three prime suspects, police also arrested Le’Prese Derrion Williams, 21, who was charged with willful injury in the assault, and Shanayia Dianne Hamer, 23, and Franreca Delores Woods, 19, both of whom were charged with first-degree theft for grabbing the phone.
The homicide was more a crime of opportunity than a random killing, authorities say. The suspects didn’t pick a target at random to attack. But it was still unusual for Des Moines, where most homicides are between people who know each other.