Rutherford county judge rejects plea deal in brutal beating, says it's too lenient

Gavel 900 506.jpg
Posted at 4:49 PM, Aug 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-29 20:01:11-04

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Rutherford County judge denied a plea deal in a brutal beating case, saying he thought the agreement was too lenient.

Brandon Wiley, 25, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in connection to an attack outside MJ’s Sports Bar in Murfreesboro last summer.

He, the prosecution and the victim agreed to a deal of three years in prison.

It’s unusual for a judge to reject a plea deal agreed by both the prosecution and the defense.

District Attorney Jennings said the judge scrutinized the case file and decided the plea was not sufficient for the seriousness of the crime.

"It's not exceedingly common, but it does sometimes happen a judge refuses a plea," said Jones.

Jones said security video from the bar shows Wiley punching the victim in the bar parking lot. The victim is seen falling to the ground outside the camera view, where the assault continues.

"The victim did receive a fairly serious injury," said Jones.

He suffered multiple facial fractures, underwent six hours of surgery to insert three plates, spent five days in the hospital and incurred almost $250,000 in medical bills.

Security video shows the two men earlier in the evening appearing to get along while playing darts together. They were seen speaking to each other for several minutes outside before the beating began.

"I believe that is a very good piece of evidence," said Jones.

The two appeared to get along playing darts together inside the bar. Later, they talked outside for several minutes before the attack.

Wiley was charged with aggravated assault. Even with the strong evidence of the video, Jones said the plea deal was agreed upon by both parties.

"If the victim tells us they would like a plea offer to be made rather than for us to see a maximum possible penalty then that's something we are going to respect.," said Jones who added the victim wanted to avoid a trial.

He had requested that Wiley take a six to eight year plea sentence. Wiley agreed to three years, and the victim signed off.

But the judge, seeing the video, did not. Unless a new plea deal is reached to satisfy the judge, the case will go to trial, which seems to be the opposite of what the victim wants.

Wiley has no prior felony record. If convicted, at trial he'd face a maximum of six years, served a 30 percent.