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US: Jena Six defendant Mychal Bell sent back to prison
Wednesday, October 17, 2007 :On October 11, 17-year-old Mychal Bell, whose prosecution in Jena, Louisiana as part of the Jena Six has provoked widespread outrage throughout the country, was sent back to prison for violation of his probation, stemming from charges in an unrelated prior case. LaSalle Parish District Judge J.P. Mauffray revoked Bell’s probation and sentenced him to 18 months in jail on two counts of simple battery and two counts of criminal destruction of property.
His family expressed shock and surprise.
“He’s locked up again,” decried Marcus Jones, Bell’s father. Bell spent nine months in jail after excessive bail was set in the Jena Six case. It was the decision of Judge Mauffray to set the high bail for Bell, who was then only 16.
Bell was convicted by an all-white jury in June of second-degree battery and conspiracy, but the convictions were overturned by higher courts on the grounds that Bell should not have been tried as an adult.
Bell and the other five members of the Jena Six—Jesse Ray Beard, Robert Bailey, Jr., Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis and Theo Shaw—were charged with beating a white student, Justin Barker, last December. All six of the students are black. The fight occurred after months of racial tensions that began when several black students sat under a tree at school normally occupied only by white students. Three nooses were found hanging on the tree the next day—a clear racist warning recalling the era of lynchings and terror during the Jim Crow period in the South.Read More