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Two men guilty in assault on former city councelor

Gazette-Times reporter

James Larry Ramson, 16 at the time of his arrest, will spend the next 80 months in a state prison. Jeremy Delano Kincaid, 19 at the time of his arrest, will likely spend very little time behind bars in connection with the same crime. Both were accused of beating 53-year-old Dennis DeMers and leaving him in a pool of blood at the bottom of a Benton County Courthouse staircase Aug. 12, 1998.

DeMers is a former Adair Village city councilor who also ran for Benton County Commissioner and a seat in the state House of Representatives. Today his life consists mostly of watching television, according to a friend.

Ramson was charged as an adult and pleaded guilty Monday. He will be sentenced under the mandatory guidelines required by Measure 11.

Both Kincaid and Ramson faced three felony assault charges.

Friday night a 12-person jury found Kincaid not guilty of the felony charges but guilty on lesser assault charges after seven hours of deliberation. He will be sentenced April 30.

The conviction is for a misdemeanor and could result in a jail sentence.

That would be served in the Benton County jail. But because the jail is often full, serving time for misdemeanor crimes has often been handled on a space available basis.

Police have only the defendants' version of the incident that left DeMers nearly unable to care for himself. He suffered head injuries in the attack and doesn't remember what happened.

According to Kincaid and Ramson, Demers had approached the pair of Spokane, Wash., magazine salesmen downtown and told them that if they'd each give him a dollar he'd tell them how to make $1 million.

They handed over their money, but after DeMers told them his plan, they didn't like the information and demanded their money back.

DeMers refused and the two men chased him toward the courthouse.

Kincaid said throughout the trial that he had no intention of hurting DeMers. In fact he had the opportunity to hurt DeMers at any time between giving him the dollar and when he eventually pushed DeMers down the staircase leading to the basement entrance of the courthouse.

He only wanted the money back, Kincaid said.

"If I had the day to live over again, I'd not take the law into my own hands," Kincaid testified. "I thought it was important at the time, but now it's not that big a thing to let someone run away with a few bucks."

Ken Vandehey, who said he's known DeMers for 15 to 20 years, agreed with Kincaid.

"It's like 95 percent of him is gone," he said. "It's a sad thing to see, especially over a couple bucks."

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