A 21-year-old former University of Iowa student originally charged with attempted murder after authorities said he choked an Iowa City police officer pleaded guilty Friday morning to lesser charges of willful injury, a felony, and interference with official acts inflicting bodily injury.
As part of the plea agreement, Branden L. Plummer will receive a suspended prison sentence of up to five years. If he violates the conditions of his probation, he could be sentenced to a correctional facility. He also was given a 60-day jail sentence, with the ability to leave for work or school. He was given credit for the 30 days he’s already served in the Johnson County Jail, meaning he has another month behind bars.
With regard to the felony offense, Plummer has asked for the opportunity to have it deferred, meaning it could be cleared from his record if he stays out of trouble.
His official sentencing date has not been set.
Plummer, who posted bond in his case about a month after his arrest, appeared in court Friday to enter his plea with his attorney and several friends and family members present. He didn’t talk except to say, “Yes, your honor,” when asked if he is guilty and if he assaulted the officer.
According to amended trial information filed Friday, Plummer on Nov. 18 punched Iowa City police Sgt. Brian Krei “in the face and head, pushed his head into the concrete once he had him down and then forcibly choked him.”
The court documents go on to say that Plummer refused to show identification when asked by the officer, and he tried to run away from the scene near the corner of Burlington and Linn streets. When the officer tried to stop him, Plummer assaulted the officer causing a concussion, abrasions and contusions.
Plummer’s attempted murder trial, which was scheduled to start Monday, had been moved to Tama County because of concerns it would be difficult to seat an unbiased jury in Johnson County.
Plummer didn’t talk following the hearing and neither did Krei or his family members. Iowa City police Lt. Doug Hart told reporters that the agreement was acceptable to the victim, and that is what matters.
“The Johnson County Attorney’s Office is well-renowned for its resolutions of cases that victims feel comfortable with,” he said.
He also said that law enforcement officers “respect the judicial process” and know that plea deals sometimes occur.