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Tuesday, May 28, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

D.C. Vendor Gets 18 Years for Brutal Barbell Attack

(CN) - A street vendor will spend 18 years in prison for beating a man to death with a barbell on a busy Washington sidewalk, federal prosecutors said Friday.

In 2012 - and for no apparent reason - Jeffrey Mills, 52, attacked Juan Antonio Paredes, 45, as Paredes talked with friends on a sidewalk in northwest Washington. Witnesses said Paredes had his back to Mills at the time of the attack, and that Mills struck him repeatedly in the head, chest and abdomen with a 15-pound barbell.

Paredes died of blunt force trauma at a hospital the following day. Mills told police that Paredes had threatened him with a knife earlier in the day, although no weapons were found at the scene and multiple witnesses testified that Paredes had not threatened Mills in any way before the attack.

This past November, a jury hearing the case found Mills guilty of voluntary manslaughter while armed, a lesser offense of first-degree premeditated murder. On Friday, D.C. Superior Court Judge John Ramsey Johnson sentenced Mills to 18 years in prison, plus a concurrent sentence of three years for carrying a dangerous weapon.

Mills will also serve five years of supervised probation after release, according to a statement by U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen Jr.

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