Posted Oct. 12, 2007 – Mychal Bell, the 17-year-old “Jena 6” teen who was released from jail a week after civil rights leaders, preachers, students and other activists stormed into the tiny Louisiana town to protest his harsh prosecution, is back in jail.
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A judge found that Bell had violated his probation for prior juvenile convictions. CNN reports that the troubled teen is now being held at the Renaissance Home for Youth in Alexandria, La.
"He's locked up again," Bell's father, Marcus Jones, told The Associated Press Thursday. "No bail has been set or nothing. He's a young man who's been thrown in jail again and again, and he just has to take it."
The sentence, imposed by Louisiana State District Judge J.P. Mauffrey, Jr., requires Bell to serve 18 months in a juvenile facility for four offenses that happened before his involvement in the beating of Justin Barker, a White classmate at Jena High School, the incident that sparked the massive Sept. 20 rally.
The earlier charges included two counts of simple battery and two counts of criminal destruction of property, according to AP.
Bell’s attorneys, who have promised to appeal the decision, said they were expecting a routine hearing, but it ended up being a two-day ordeal – the Thursday’s session lasting six hours.
Bell was the only one of the six Black Jena teen defendants tried and convicted in the Barker incident, allegedly sparked when White students hung nooses on campus. He was already on probation at the time he was charged in the Dec. 4 beating. Bell was originally convicted for felony second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit battery, but an appeals judge threw the case out, arguing that he should have been tried as a juvenile, since he was only 16 at the time of the crime.
Bell was freed on Sept. 27 on $45,000 bail, following a decision by Reed Walters, the LaSalle Parish district attorney, not to appeal that decision.
Do you think he deserves to be in jail, or is Louisiana just finding a way to get what the state wanted all along? Click "Discuss Now," to the right, to post your comment.