Kansas man pleads no contest in crimes linked to 5-year-old girl’s death

TOPEKA, Kan. — A Topeka man has pleaded no contest to crimes linked to the drive-by shooting death of a 5-year-old girl.

Twenty-two-year-old Jessie Dean Deshawn Hughes pleaded Thursday in the July 2015 death of Lily Coats-Nichols. Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay said Hughes pleaded to involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and criminal discharge of a firearm at an occupied vehicle.

Hughes was originally charged with first-degree murder.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the plea deal requires Hughes to spend 25 years in prison.

Kagay said the girl’s family supported the plea deal.

Authorities said Lily was shot in the head while in the back seat of a car driven by her mother.

Kagay said prosecutors believe Hughes thought he was shooting at rival gang members in the area.

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