Todd Ruger

The second of two men who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for the Aug. 4 beating death of a Davenport man in the aftermath of a traffic altercation received a 30-year prison term, which the judge called "a heck of a break."

Scott County District Judge Mark Smith sentenced Colt Krana, 20, to three consecutive prison terms of 10 years Wednesday after he pleaded guilty Feb. 14 to voluntary manslaughter, willful injury and second-degree robbery. He must serve at least 8 1/2 years before he is eligible for parole and is responsible for a $150,000 civil judgment in favor of the victim's family.

A plea agreement stipulated that the three 10-year terms be served consecutively for the beating death of Ronald Eugene Brinkley Sr., 58, whose body was found in an alley behind 1520 W. 4th St., where he lived. An autopsy revealed he had been beaten to death with blunt trauma to the head and chest, police said.

"Mr. Brinkley was beaten to death, not only about the head but from chest injury," Smith told Krana in front of more than 40 of Krana's relatives and friends. "To me that is much more egregious than simply pulling a trigger."

Smith said if Krana would have taken his case to trial, jurors most likely would have returned a guilty verdict of at least second-degree murder, punishable by up to 50 years in prison, and possibly the original charge of first-degree murder, which carries a life term.

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"I think you're extremely lucky you got the agreement you did and the court accepted it," Smith said. The judge said it pains him to send someone of Krana's age to prison but that the facts of the case are so excessive that he had no choice. "You've got a heck of a break here."

Investigators said they discovered that Brinkley had been involved in a traffic accident with Krana and Joseph Hildebrant, 17, in the alley behind 1633 W. 4th St. Krana and Hildebrant began assaulting Brinkley after an argument ensued, according to a police affidavit.

Brinkley got back in his vehicle and tried to flee, but Hildebrant and Krana followed him to the garage where he lived and repeatedly punched and kicked the man in the chest and head, police said.

Hildebrant received a similar prison sentence in February after he pleaded guilty to the same charges in December. Scott County Attorney Bill Davis said his office made the plea agreements because they were appropriate and "equal to what we thought his office could reasonably expect from a jury."

Krana's attorney, John Miller, read a letter from Krana to his family at the sentencing. "I never meant for this to happen to you, you know that," Miller read. "If I could change it all, I would."

Todd Ruger can be contacted at                          (563) 383-2493 or truger@qctimes.com.

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