Three 18-year-old men have been charged with murder in the beating death of a Des Moines man last weekend.
Yarvon Nathaniel Russell, 18, James Alon Shorter, 18, and Kent Anthony Tyler III, 18, all of Des Moines, were charged Friday with first-degree murder.
Russell has been arrested and is being held in Polk County Jail on a $500,000 bond. Shorter was taken into custody by Des Moines police and a warrant has been issued for Tyler’s arrest.
Officers found Richard Daughenbaugh, 40, severely beaten in a parking lot near the Center Street bridge around 1 a.m. Sunday. He later died from his injuries at a local hospital.
The medical examiner ruled the cause of death as undetermined.
Des Moines Police Sgt. Jason Halifax said Daughenbaugh apparently got into a verbal altercation with one of the three suspects; Halifax declined to say which one. The altercation turned physical when one of the men attacked Daughenbaugh. The other two men – and likely several others – joined in.
“We feel there are probably more and if we can file charges, we will,” Halifax said.
Besides the three charged, there were apparently several dozen people gathered in the parking lot during the beating.
Police received only one 911 call, from a woman fishing with her boyfriend, who apparently tried to stop the attack. She was hit while trying to step in. Her boyfriend tried to defend her and was assaulted as well.
Le’Prese Derrion Williams, 21, of Des Moines, was charged with willful injury for that attack. Two others, Shanayia Hamer, 22, and Franreca Woods, 18, were charged with first-degree theft for allegedly taking and throwing the woman’s cell phone when she tried calling 911.
Detectives don’t know why the group had gathered and don’t know what Daughenbaugh was doing in the area.
“I don’t think we’ll ever really know,” Halifax said.
While some in the crowd were reportedly gang members, police said they don’t believe the beating was gang-related. There is no indication Daughenbaugh had anything to do with any gangs or knew anyone involved in the beating, Halifax said.
“The phrase mob mentality is accurate here,” Halifax said. “Once the assault began, acquaintances of the first suspect jumped in.
Detectives have interviewed more than 20 witnesses but believe there are likely others who can contribute to the case and urged them to come forward.