NEW ORLEANS – Five of six black teens accused of beating a white classmate have pleaded no contest to misdemeanor simple battery and were sentenced to seven days probation and fined $500 plus court costs.
It was a far less severe end to their cases than seemed possible when the six students were initially charged with attempted murder in a 2006 attack on Justin Barker. They became known as the "Jena Six," after the central Louisiana town where the beating happened.
Later, charges against Carwin Jones, Jesse Ray Beard, Robert Bailey Jr., Bryant Purvis and Theo Shaw were reduced to aggravated second-degree battery. The only member of the group to serve jail time was Mychal Bell, who pleaded guilty to second-degree battery and was sentenced to 18 months.
A civil hearing is also scheduled today to settle Barker's lawsuit against the group.