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Kennan pleads to 16 years for assault

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, December 2, 2017
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A Newark man has been sentenced to 16 years for an assault that resulted in the death of another man.

Brett Walter Kennan, 34, pleaded guilty in 271st District Court in Decatur Thursday to aggravated assault causes serious bodily injury in exchange for the 16-year prison sentence. He faced a punishment range of 2 to 20 years on the second degree felony charge.

Kennan has remained in the Wise County Jail since his arrest on Sept. 2, 2016.

The district attorney’s office waived a second count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, also a second degree felony.

Kennan will have to serve at least a quarter of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.

The assault took place Aug. 26, 2016, but medics weren’t called to a home in the 900 block of Farm Road 3433 until three days later. Deputies arrived and found Freddie Ballard, 58, of Newark unconscious and breathing heavily.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, medics examined Ballard at the scene and determined possible “injury or trauma to the head” may have caused a brain bleed. Ballard was taken to Plaza Medical Center where an X-ray confirmed a brain injury, according to the affidavit.

Several members of Ballard’s family told investigators he was beat up by Kennan on Aug. 26.

The fight occurred in the home where Ballard was discovered. Ballard and several other people lived at the address, including Kennan, who was staying with one of Ballard’s daughters.

Ballard remained on life support due to his injuries until he died on Sept. 3.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Ballard’s death a homicide, with the cause listed as blunt force injuries to the head with complications. Kennan, who had previously been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, was charged with murder.

Kennan was indicted by a Wise County grand jury last November on one count of aggravated assault causes serious bodily injury and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

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